Phrasal Verb #10 - Look at

April 8, 2019


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 analyze, ascertain, scrutinize something"


Read the conversations below to see how to use "look at" with this meaning. 





Verbs of similar meaning:

analyze; ascertain; scrutinize


1. look at (present tense)


Trevor is speaking to his data analyst, Joan. 


Trevor: Hi Joan. How's it going?

Joan: I'm good. What can I do for you?

Trevor: Could you look at last month's environmental compliance data? The figures don't make sense. We expected to see a drop in carbon emissions at the Dallas factory.

Joan: Sure. What do you want me to look at specifically?

Trevor: Look at the carbon emissions for February and check if they've been entered into the system correctly.

Joan: Now?

Trevor: Yes, please. It's urgent.

Joan: Sure. I'll email you with my findings before lunch.

Trevor: Perfect. Thanks.


2. be looking at (present continuous)


Vanessa and Rob are house hunting. Vanessa gets a phone call from her friend, Valerie.


Vanessa: Hi Val. How're you?

Val: I'm good.  What're you up to today? Fancy meeting up for coffee later?

Vanessa: I'd love to but we're out today. We're looking at houses.

Val: Again?

Vanessa: Yes. Again. We will find what we're looking for eventually!

Val: I'm sure you will.

Vanessa: We're looking at houses again tomorrow as well. 

Val: Well, good luck. I'll call you next week.

Vanessa: Sounds good. Have a great day.

Val: Thanks. You, too.


3. looked at (past)


Tom went to the doctor because he had a rash. He is visiting his mother.


Mother: What's that rash on your arm? Are you ok?

Tom: Yes, it's fine. The doctor looked at it yesterday and said it wasn't anything serious.

Mother: What else did he say?

Tom: He said it's just eczema. He prescribed some hydrocortisone cream.

Mother: Ok. Don't forget to use it.

Tom: Yes, mom!



4. will look at (offer of future help)


Rita's can't understand how to use a new app she has downloaded on her phone. She is talking to her sister about it.


Rita: I downloaded one of those taxi apps on my phone, but I can't understand how to use it.

Josey: Is it complicated?

Rita: Well, I ordered a cab the other day by accident and then tried to cancel it but then another one came! I was in such a panic.

Josey: You should ask Dan to look at it.

Rita: I've already asked him. He said he'll look at it tomorrow when he comes to visit.

Josey: Good. He's very good with technology.


If you found these conversations useful, check out my book which contains over 450 original conversations like this plus over 200 exercises!


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