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General Writing and Grammar Help/sounds, looks, appears, seems



Hope you are well!

What is the correct option?

"Peter told me a story about a man who could exorcize the spirit. Peter's story .......... interesting."

a) sounds

b) looks

c) seems

d) appears

Please explain your reasons.
Thank you

ANSWER: Any is correct.


Note that =sounds= in this sentence is not literal:  that is, you are not hearing with your ears that the story is interesting.  You are making a value judgement about further interest in the story, based on the Peter information told you.  


Since this distinction might be confusing, given your previous question, I would suggest you not use the word =sounds= in a context such as this.

The same is true with =looks=.

=Appears= and =seems= are the best choices.  They are the most clear and leave no room for literal interpretation.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you.

Right now, I believe that I am the most confused person in this world. I'm totally confused.

You said that all the options are correct. But honestly, I expected that you would say that B) WAS WRONG.

Option a) makes sense to me. As you said before, "sounds" means "verbal." So, I have no problem with option a) because one hears a story.

However, I have problem with option b). It cannot be correct. From my example, it's quite clear that Peter is telling me a story and I am LISTENING to it, so it SOUNDS interesting. I am NOT LOOKING AT Peter's story, so we cannot say "LOOKS interesting."

This is what I have concluded as a non-native speaker. What do you think?

Thank you for being in touch
I feel blessed to have you as my teacher

=Looks= is colloquial American English.  As a non-native speaker, I'd avoid it, as the use is quite nuanced.  

All 4 of your options are correct in American English.  =Looks= will be the trickest to use.  I'd advise you to avoid it.

=Appears= and =seems= are best.

=Seems= is best of all.  It sidesteps all the colloquial usages problems.

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Martha Beth Lewis


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