Parecer VS Parecerse: Know the Difference!

Parecer VS Parecerse: Know the Difference!

Parecer vs Parecerse: The truth is that these verbs “se parecen” (look alike), that is, they look similar, but they don’t behave the same or mean the same thing.

Parecer” is used to express an opinion or make a judgment about something’s appearance or characteristics (e.g. “Pareces cansado” – You seem tired).
In contrast, “parecerse” is a reflexive verb that means to look alike or resemble someone/something (e.g. Me parezco a mi madre” – I resemble my mother).

Let’s decipher what’s happening with these two verbs right now. Let’s get started!

1. How to use parecerse in Spanish

parecer vs parecerse - parecerse

First of all, let’s check this conversation between Carla and Maura where they use parecerse in Spanish. Pay attention to chunks, too!

Maura, ¿tú crees que tú y yo nos parecemos?

(Maura, do you think you and I look alike?)

La gente me dice que me parezco a ti todo el tiempo, pero yo no creo.

(People tell me I look like you all the time, but I don’t think so.)

Yo tampoco. Sí me parezco un montón a mi mamá.

(Me neither. I do look a lot like my mom.)

Yo solía parecerme más a mi papá cuando era pequeña. De adulto también me parezco un montón a mi mamá.

(I used to look more like my dad when I was little. As an adult I also look a lot like my mom.)

Parecerse” essentially means to look like someone else. Things can also look alike, for example:

  • Esta camisa se parece a la tuya. (This shirt looks like yours.)
  • Esa ciudad se parece a Caracas. (That city looks like Caracas.)

Parecerse” is reflexive, so the important thing in this case is to use the correct pronoun. Let’s see examples with this:

YomeMe parezco a mi hermana. (I look like my sister.)
teTe pareces a nuestra vecina. (You look like our neighbor.)
Él, Ella, EsoseSe parece a una actriz famosa. (She looks like a famous actress.)
Nosotros/asnosNos parecemos una a la otra. (We resemble each other.)
Ustedes, Ellos/asseSe parecen a mis primos. (They look like my cousins.)

It’s important to note that “parecerse” almost always needs to use “a“, so we say:

  • Tú te pareces a mi ex. (You look like my ex.)
  • Yo me parezco a su mejor amiga. (I look like her best friend.)

But, we DON’T use “a” when we’re talking in a reciprocal sense. When we want to say “one another” or “among ourselves”, things like that.

For example:

  • Nosotras nos parecemos mucho. (We look like each other a lot.): it’s very common for expressions like “mucho” and “muy poco” to follow “parecerse“.
  • Ellos se parecen muy poco. (They look very little like each other.)
  • No nos parecemos en nada. (We don’t look like each other at all.): keep in mind that “parecerse” in Spanish is not only physical.

It also implies personality, character, gestures, etc.


Se le parece” (It looks like it) is a chunk we use in sentences like:
“No es el Caribe, pero se le parece”. (It’s not the Caribbean, but it looks like it.)
We normally use “se le parece” when we say that one thing looks like another. It usually follows negative statements.

More examples for parcould be:

  • No es exactamente como Venezuela, pero se le parece. (It’s not exactly like Venezuela, but it looks like it.)
  • Yo sé que esta no es la chaqueta que querías, pero se le parece. (I know this is not the jacket you wanted, but it looks like it.)

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2. How to use parecer in Spanish

parecer vs parecerse - parecer

Just like with parecerse, let’s see how parecer works in a real Spanish conversation!

¿Te parece si pedimos comida coreana hoy?
(How about ordering Korean food today?)

¿Qué te parece si bajamos a comprarla mejor?
(How about better going downstairs to buy it?)

También. El restaurante de la esquina parece bueno.
(That too. The restaurant on the corner looks good.)

Sí, y parece mucho más barato que el que pedimos a casa.
(Yes, and it seems much cheaper than the one we order from home.)

Parecer” is a verb we use to ask for and give our opinion about something or someone.

That’s why we say things like in the dialogue and more like:

  • Ella me parece una buena persona. (She seems to me like a nice person.)
  • ¿Qué te parece si invitamos a toda la familia? (What do you think if we invite the whole family?):

Note that the question can be “¿qué te parece si…?” or “¿te parece si…?“. There is no important difference. Let’s see the next example:

  • Nos parece buen sitio para comer. (It seems like a good place to eat.)

In the case of “parecer“, it often appears before “muy“, like:

  • Me parece muy bonito. (It seems very nice to me.)
  • Nos parece muy difícil. (It seems very difficult to us.)

Another thing that happens with “parecer” is that it uses indirect object pronouns to reflect on whom the verb acts upon. These direct and indirect object pronouns give a lot of headaches, I know.

In fact, I recently made a comparative video between the two that you can check out here:

Master DIRECT and INDIRECT OBJECT Pronouns in Spanish

Meanwhile, here are the combinations:

PersonaPronombre de objeto indirectoChunk
YomeMe parece perfecto. (It seems perfect to me.)
te¿Te parece bien? (Does it seem fine to you?)
Él, Ella, EsoleA mi madre le parece una locura. (It seems crazy to my mother.)
Nosotros/asnosNos parece buena idea. (It seems like a good idea to us.)
Ustedes, Ellos/asles¿Les parece interesante la película? (Does the movie seem interesting to you?)

If you’re talking about one thing, in the singular, you use “parece“. If you’re talking about several things, in the plural, you use “parecen“.

Like this for one single thing:

  • Esta discusión me parece ridícula. (This discussion seems ridiculous to me.)
  • Este país nos parece una maravilla. (This country seems a marvel to us.)
  • La primera temporada me parece muy aburrida. (The first season seems very boring to me.)

Like this with everal things:

  • ¿Te parecen bonitos mis zapatos? (Do my shoes seem nice to you?)
  • A ella le parecen interesantes las diferencias culturales. (Cultural differences seem interesting to her.)
  • ¿A ustedes les parecen bonitos los chihuahuas? (Do chihuahuas seem pretty to you?)


Parece que…” (It seems like…) is a chunk we use very often to talk about things that may or may not happen. Like this:
¿Parece que va a llover o no parece que vaya a llover? (Does it seem like it’s going to rain or doesn’t it seem like it’s going to rain?)

The curious thing is that the negative, “no parece que…” (it doesn’t seem like…), forces you to use the subjunctive. I know no one likes the subjunctive, so here’s a video for you to get familiar with it:

Subjuntivo in Spanish: FINALLY an EASY WAY to Always Use It Correctly! ✅

Parece queDOESN’T use the subjunctive:

  • Parece que todos están listos. (It seems that everyone is ready.)
  • Parece que hace frío. (It seems to be cold.)
  • El árbol parece que se va a caer. (The tree seems like it’s going to fall.)

No parece queNEEDS the subjunctive:

  • No parece que todos estén listos. (It doesn’t seem like everyone is ready.)
  • No parece que haga frío. (It doesn’t seem to be cold.)
  • No parece que el árbol se vaya a caer. (It doesn’t seem like the tree is going to fall.)

3. 2 main differences between parecer vs parecerse in Spanish

parecer vs parecerse - comparison

Parecer” and “Parecerse” sometimes use pronouns that look the same.

But they are neither the same nor do they behave the same way:

  • “Parecer” is always about opinions.
  • “Parecerse” is always about resemblance.

4. Practice and complete the chunks to understand parecer vs parecerse

parecer vs parecerse - chunks

To practice, complete the following chunks:

  1. ¿Tú crees que yo ___________ a Millie Bobby Brown? (Do you think I look like Millie Bobby Brown?)
  2. ¿A quién __________ tú? (Who do you look like?)
  3. A Carla ____________ divertido usar pelucas. (It seems fun to Carla to wear wigs.)
  1. Answer: ¿Tú crees que me parezco a Millie Bobby Brown?
  2. Answer: ¿A quién te pareces tú?
  3. Answer: A Carla le parece divertido usar pelucas.

That’s it! This is all you have to know about parecer vs parecerse in Spanish. Practice with Conversation Based Chunking method and you will quickly remember how to use them in real-life conversations, without memorizing boring grammar rules.

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