There is a way kind of like you described. It's formed with "Se ut"
For example "Han ser ut som sin mor".
For adjectives, you place them in between "Se" and "Ut".
"Han ser trött ut" -> "He looks tired"
As for when to use it, I usually hear "Är lik" used more for people, and "Ser ut" for everything else.
Hey, could you enlighten me about the difference between
"han är lik sin mor",
"han är som sin mor" and
"han ser ut som sin mor"?
I'm guessing the third one is only about looks, but is it interchangeable with the first one? What's the difference between the first and second one? And could you use "lik" instead of "som" in the third one? Thanks in advance.
I'm native and going by feel and what I've learnt and also by possible dialectal variances, but this is how I would use these:
First one is more general. Mostly used about appearance, but can also be used in terms of how one acts "han är lik sin mor på det sättet" (he is like his mother in that way).
Second one is more about how a person behaves. For example, mixing the languages: "He has really good manners. Ja, han är som sin mor." (Yes, he is like his mother).
Third one is only about looks "ser ut som" would mean "looks like" So that would only be "he looks like his mother".
You couldn't use "lik" instead of "som" in the third one. But there is a word that can be used instead for similar purpose, which is "likadan", example: "Han och hans mor är likadana" / "He and his mother are the same"