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Sense / Meaning / Semantics

direct your gaze at / regarder

In the imperative mode, look is most often translated as regarder.

It is sometimes translated as Écoute(z)!, (see "discourse marker" below)

appear / sembler

When look is not followed by a particle or directional preposition, it is an attributive verb, often translated as avoir l'air de

  • look + ADJ
  • look + like + Noun / Pronoun / Sentence

  • You look sleepy. tu as l'air fatigué
  • It looks like a trap. ça a l'air d'être un piège
  • She looks like you. Elle te ressemble // elle ressemble (plus) à toi
  • They looked like they were exhausted. Ils avaient l'air d'être vannés.

Look + preposition = regarder

Except in orders (imperative mode, see above), look is followed by a preposition, most commonly "at"

  • He looked at his hands. They were dirty.
  • I looked at the clock and realized I was late.
  • They asked me to look at this.

It is often used with other directional / situational prepositions (under, out, on, in, over, through, etc.)

  • I looked in the dresser, under the bed, on the desk, everywhere. I'm sorry I couldn't find your brush. Are you sure it isn't in your bag?
  • They looked out the window and across the street.
  • He looked right through us, as if we weren't there.
  • When you look through a telescope, close your other eye.

Look + particle = ???

  • look for: chercher
  • look up: rechercher
  • look through: parcourir
  • look over: parcourir, avoir vue sur
  • look into: enquêter
  • look on: être spectateur (compare to above)
  • look up to: être admiratif de
  • look out for: etre à l'affût de
  • look back on: se rappeler qqch
  • look forward to: attendre avec impatience (nb: look forward to Ving.)


conjugation / grammar / syntax

Present tense

I / We / You / They...

  • look
  • don't look

He / She / It / That / This ...

  • looks
  • doesn't look

Past tense

  • looked
  • didn't look


  • present: looking
  • past:: looked [lʊkt]

Grammar / syntax


  • can be intransitive (followed by nothing)
  • cannot be followed directly by a conjugated verb or the verbal base
  • can be followed directly by an adjective (or verbal participles)
  • can be followed directly by "like" + N, Pronoun, Sentence.



  • have a (quick / long / good) look at a problem
  • We gave another house a look, but we didn't like it as much.


  • That's a pretty cool look. I like the colors.

Discourse Marker

As mentioned above "look" is a discourse marker demanding particular attention to the speech that follows.

  • Look. I'm not going. Écoute, je n'y vais pas. ( C'est tout / point barre / etc. )