The phrasal verb, "look at", is one of the most commonly used verbs in the English language. It has at least 5 different meanings. One meaning of the verb is "to read or examine something quickly (so you can give your opinion)"
Read the conversations below to see how to use "look at" with this meaning.
Verbs of similar meaning:
read; study; inspect
1. look at (present tense)
Hanako is asking her roommate, Emma to check a letter they have received from their landlord.
Hanako: Hey Emma. I think you should look at this letter.
Emma: Why? What does it say?
Hanako: I’m not sure. It’s written in very difficult English. Could you look at it?
Emma: Sure. Show me.
Hanako: Here you go.
Emma: Thanks. Ok, let’s see. Oh no.
Hanako: What’s wrong?
Emma: Our landlord wants us to move out. He’s sold the apartment.
Hanako: Really? Oh no. So we have to find somewhere else to live.
Emma: Yep. Damn.
2. be looking at (present continuous)
Deborah is a journalist and works for a fashion magazine. She has sent her editor, Tim, an article that she wrote for the magazine.
Deborah: Hey Tim. How’s it going?
Tim: Good, thanks.
Deborah: What did you think of my article on winter fashion?
Tim: Actually, I’m looking at it right now. It’s good, but I think it’s a bit long. Can you chop the intro a little?
Deborah: Sure. Anything else?
Tim: Not sure yet. I’ll email you with my comments later on.
3. looked at (past)
Tom is sitting with his friend, Ronaldo, in the cafeteria at school.
Tom: Have you seen today’s maths homework?
Ronaldo: Yeah, I looked at it after class. It doesn’t look too difficult.
Tom: Are you kidding me? I haven’t got a clue how to answer those questions.
Ronaldo: Ok. Let’s look at it together after school today.
Tom: Thanks, man. That’d be great.
Ronaldo: No problem.
4. will look at (offer of future help)
Katherine has written an essay for a competition. She’d like to get her roommate’s opinion on her essay.
Katherine: Hi Jessie. Do you have some time tonight to read my essay? I’d like your opinion on it before I send it in to the competition.
Jessie: Sure. No problem. I’ll look at it after dinner.
Katherine: Great. Thanks!
Jessie: You’re welcome.
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