"Como ele é?"

Translation:What's he like?

August 9, 2013

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I am a brazilian native, the meaning of the follow senteces is different: 1) When I say "Como ele é?", I want to know about his appearance (if he is tall, short, etc. ) and/or his perssonality (if he is nice, inteligent, smart, etc). I´ve always been taught there were too translations in english for this sentence: How does he look like ( when we want to know about his appearance) and How is he like (when we want to know about his personality), and I think What is he like would have the same meaning of How is like, am I right?

2) When I say "O que ele é?", I want to know what does he do for living (if he is a doctor, lawer, actor, teacher, etc.). I think that it could be translated to "What is he?", could it be?

February 27, 2015


And, not less important:

  • "Como ele está" is the only one that means "how is he (doing)? - (is he ok?)"
February 14, 2017


Another native speaker giving us valuable tips , plus their English is better than ours, rsrsrsrs

March 29, 2015


This is incorrect, "Como ele e" is "What is he like" not "How is he"

August 9, 2013


I am agree with you!! that is the best translation

November 1, 2013


You mean I am in agreement with you. Both replies should be accepted

February 3, 2014


I'm not sure both should be accepted.

If English accepts "how is he" with the same meaning as "what is he like", then, and only then, it's a translation for "como ele é".

But you would never ever in Portuguese ask "como ele é" if you want to know how he is doing.

For that you must ask "como ele está? = how is he (doing)?" (is he ok?)

February 14, 2017


Kind of unfair, I had no idea you could use 'como' in this way. Naturally I wrote 'What is he?'

November 30, 2013


I agree with you. I think this component leaves to be desired as far as introduction to conjunctions. That is unfortunate, because those are important. .

February 3, 2014


Aside from the excellent explanations given here, I thought I'd share what helped me understand.

  1. Como ele e? translated word for word is How he is? You would reply, he is smart, or he is handsome, etc. Although in English you'd ask, what's he like. Do note that in a lot of languages, including Hindi, we sort of ask this question in a less English, more Portuguese way (if that makes sense)

  2. O que ele e? again translated word for word is the what he is? Again you'd reply, he's a doctor, he's a lawyer, he's a random Indian dude on Duolingo, etc.

February 18, 2016


In English, "What is he/she" does not mean a profession like "O que ele é" It is often used negatively or when surprised.

①. Often concerning fundamental humanity (the "is")

"What IS he? I can't believe he did that! Is he a monster?" "an alien? a machine? an evil villain?"

In a positive way: "She did all that? What is she? Wonder Woman?!"

②. Same as: Who does he think he is?

"What is he? So arrogant!"

Does Portuguese have a similar way of saying these things?

December 21, 2017


How would you say, "What is he?"

October 5, 2013


that's what I guessed

October 30, 2013


i think it could be : "Como vai ele"

November 21, 2013


"Como vai ele", we use when we want to know how is he doing, if he is ok or not. About the sentence "What is he?", like antlane said, if you want to know if he is a lawyer, a teacher, a student, a doctor, nobody, etc., you say "O que ele é?".

February 27, 2015


I answered "What does he like", which is now obviously wrong. How would you say "What does he like" for my reference?

December 2, 2013


"Ele gosta de o que?" "O que ele gosta?" I'm not too sure either if someone else knows

January 28, 2014


You must have "de" in both cases. And if you want to use "o" (optional with "de + o que"), you must contract it with "de" :

  • De que ele gosta?
  • Ele gosta de quê? (At the end of a sentence, "quê" must have an accent)
  • Do que ele gosta? (De + o)
  • Ele gosta do quê? (De + o)
February 14, 2017


I think it should be put in context for it to be more clear

December 3, 2013


"What does he look like", mostly used in North America is incorrect?

January 1, 2014


It's correct too :)

February 14, 2017


Where did the word "like" come from?

March 8, 2014


What's...like? >> Como...?

March 17, 2014


Learning, ! Couldnt figure out the like so I "wtote what is he ?"

April 18, 2014


In Spanish we have two forms of the verb 'to be', namely 'estar' and ser'. Does PT have one form or two?

June 10, 2014


Also two, the same and the same meaning as in Spanish :)

June 10, 2014


so, 'como' can mean ' I eat' 'like' or ' what'? this is very confusing. :( Please someone smart explain these to me!

February 18, 2016


"Como" does not mean "what".

  • It means "what like"
  • In which way/manner
  • Or "how (to)", "how (one does)"

There are a few sentences that are specifically confusing, not exactly because "como" means "what", but simply because both languages decided to use a different thinking logic.

  • Como é o seu nome? / Como você se chama? / Qual é o seu nome? = What is your name?

Here, we still carry the "how" idea, although that is not conceivable in English. It works in the sense of "how does one say your name?" / "how should one refer to you?" / "in which way is your name spelled?"

February 14, 2017


Try to spot easier important elements in the sentence:

  • Another verb (here, the verb "é") - Does it make sense to have both verbs? (Let's try: "I eat he is", ouch)
  • An object (some food) for the verb "como". Can I really eat him? :o

There are some funny sentences regarding this confusion:

  • Como como? = How do I eat?
  • Como como como = I eat the way I eat
  • E como como!!! = And how do I eat!! (Man, I do eat a lot)
February 14, 2017


I can so relate to that! I've answered "Does he eat?" Absolutely wrong :-D I seem to have come to a point where it's a lot more difficult to learn than before. The easiest time is over ;-)

September 22, 2016



"Como" is only "I eat".
For "he eats", it must be "ele come".

Also, try to spot other verbs in the sentence. There is an "é", which makes it very weird to have another verb in the sentence. So this "como" might be something else.

February 14, 2017


Thanks! Absolutely makes sense :-)

I clearly wrote this posting in the very beginning - today I probably wouldn't make this mistake again...

At the moment I'm pausing (in?) learning Portuguese, but your answers to this thread last week definitely made me miss learning Portuguese very much... Someday I definitely will be back!

February 23, 2017


We hope so =)

February 23, 2017


So, if I wanted to ask "How is he?" meaning my friend has been sick and I wonder if he is getting better? Which option would I use for this meaning?

August 2, 2016


In this case, you "Como ele está?"

August 2, 2016


Por que não aceita "How is he like"? ou "How he is"

November 23, 2013


Because those phrases are meaningless in English.

December 26, 2013
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