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I want to know if there are differences between the three following sentences, since for me they all have the same meaning:

It seems like an adventure.

It sounds like an adventure.

It feels like an adventure.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes I believe that there are differences.

"Sounds like" implies that the evidence is just words, usually spoken but could be written. "Seems like" could be used with any sort of evidence. "Feels like" is similar in meaning to "seems like", but suggests a higher degree of subjectivity - like it feels that way to me, but might feel differently to you.

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I agree with David, however in certain situations the actual meaning or sensory route associated with verbs can simply be used to convey degree, for example te degree of truth perceived in the knowledge of the adventure. As such it can be said that

It feels like an adventure

is more definitive than

It sounds like an adventure

and so on in the same order as the sentences were presented.

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At least as I would use it "sounds like an adventure" implies that you've heard or read a description, and imagine that what was described would (probably) be an adventure.

By contrast, "feels like an adventure" implies actual (current) experience, and considering what your experiencing adventurous. While I can certainly believe some people would use it to describe their reaction to a description, I would consider it slightly inaccurate in that context. "Feels like it would be an adventure" would probably be more accurate in that situation.

"Seems like an adventure" could carry either implication, depending on context. In reply to a description, it would be synonymous with "sounds...". In a journal entry from somebody hiking in the Amazon jungle, it would probably be synonymous with "feels like...". Without context, I'd say it's more likely to be synonymous with "sounds like...".

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The expression "it feels like" is, now (06/03/2013), being used too often in the ways that "it seems like," once was used. It feels like this trendy overuse of "it feels like" does effectively imply "a higher degree of subjectivity" or, at least, ownership of the conveyed perspective, for now. But, soon, this trendy way of talking, by continued overuse and a broader range of application, will reduce all "its" to a common state. While "feels like," "seems like" and "sounds like" have long been interchangeable, the current trendy use of "feels like" is being applied across the board to things or "its" that relate to both feelings evoked and personal perspective or observation. For example,

"Feels like the pitchers curve ball is dipping below the strike zone."

is an observation that really does not imply emotional investment. Whereas,

"Feels like everyone's picking on me."

is an observation that clearly entails emotional investment.

Not all observations or perspectives entail emotional investment, so I'm wondering about the need to imply feelings. I'm also wondering why we need to imply, stamp or clarify (even if efficiently) that our observations or opinions are our own by using "feels like" in place of "seems like." True, sometimes, using "feels like" would be hugely helpful as, for example, when a person seems to state an opinion as though it was fact.

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