In my last post I talked about the difference between parecer and parecerse and used some examples of how paracer means “to seem” (ex: you seem angry) or “to look” (ex: you look jealous). If your not familiar with parecer read my previous post.
For parecerse (the reflexive version of parecer) you want to use it when comparing someone to another specific person. So instead of “to seem” it means “to resemble,” “to be similar” or “to be alike.” It’s commonly used for comparing peoples appearance. So if you are talking to someone and they are with a friend you could say:
You look like your friend.
Te pareces a tu amigo/a.
teh pah-reh-sehs ah too ah-mee-goh/ah.
Or you can flip it around:
Your friend looks like you.
Tu amigo/a se parece a ti.
too ah-mee-goh/ah seh pah-reh-seh ah tee.
You could respond with:
I don’t look like [him/her].
No me parezco a [él/ella].
noh me pah-rehs-koh ah [EHl/eh-yah].
A different example:
Last night I saw someone that looks like you.
Anoche vi a alguien que se parece a ti.
ah-noh-cheh vee ah ahl-gee-ehn keh seh pah-reh-seh ah tee.
Notice the a in the sentence after te pareces and se parece and me parezco. You use the a to connect the two people that are being compared to each other. You always have to include that when using parecerse if you are comparing a specific person in the beginning of the phrase to another specific person at the end of the phrase.
Here’s another way to use parecerse:
You two look alike.
Ustedes se parecen.
oo-steh-dehs seh pah-reh-sehn.
You two don’t look at all alike.
Ustedes no se parecen en nada.
oo-steh-dehs noh seh pah-reh-sehn ehn nah-dah.
No a required here because you’re not saying “You look like him” or “You look like her” – you aren’t comparing a person in the beginning with a person at the end.
You can even use parecerse to ask what someone looks like:
What does [he/she] look like?
¿A qué se parece? (literally: What does he/she resemble?)
¿ah kEH seh pah-reh-seh?
So what about a phrase like “You look Latino”? Since you’re not comparing them to any specific Latino you would use parecer:
You look Latino. (or seem Latino)
But if you point out a specific person, then use parecerse:
You look like Shakira.
Te pareces a Shakira.
Parecerse can also be used for comparing things besides people:
Spanish and Italian are a lot alike.
El español y el italiano se parecen bastante.
ehl ehs-pahn-yohl ee ehl ee-tah-lee-ahn-oh seh pah-reh-sehn bahs-tahn-teh.
When it comes down to talking about people use parecer for general descriptions (ex: “you look young” or “you seem drunk”) but use parecerse when talking about the similarity between two specific people (ex: “you look like María”).