This text is taken from a children's reader. It's about some children who find a doll house that is an exact reproduction of their home.

Biff opened the little house. Everyone looked inside. "It looks like our house inside," said Biff.

A student of English as a Foreign Language asked me what part of speech the inside in "It looks like our house inside," is.

I answered that it was an adverb of place, but it strikes me that there's something wrong with this sentence. My intuition is that the problem is that look is a stative verb. Can anyone confirm this? Is there a rule in English grammar that adverbs of place cannot be added to stative verbs?

  • 1
    Can you specify which sentence troubles you? Everyone looked inside or "it looks like our house inside"? Look and inside have different roles in each sentence, I believe.
    – Mike
    Sep 10, 2012 at 3:41
  • Oops! Thanks for pointing that out, Mike. I've added a clarification.
    – Pitarou
    Sep 10, 2012 at 7:44

4 Answers 4


It looks like our house inside.

It's a perfectly grammatical construction to me.

Just as you suspected, "inside" is being used as an adverb. It's similar to:

The candy is chewy inside.


Inside, the car is a mess.

I'm not sure what your worry is about stative verbs and adverbs combining, because there's an object after the preposition "like" anyway. And even if there weren't, it would still be possible:

how something looks inside

how something feels inside

My own examples:

He's angry outside, but inside he understands.

Alzheimer's patients still remember deep down inside.

  • It could be a noun for all practical purposes as well; paraphrased: "It looks like the inside of our house"
    – SF.
    Sep 10, 2012 at 12:34
  • Hmm ... sorry, but I'm still not entirely convinced. The examples you link too are about how something looks from the inside rather than on the inside. For the angry example, I'd prefer "on the outside / inside". Would your Alzheimer's example still look correct to you without the words "deep down"? Still, thanks for trying.
    – Pitarou
    Sep 10, 2012 at 15:41
  • Well, it's been a few days now, and nobody else thinks the original sentence was wrong, so I'll mark this as the accepted answer. Still, I've shown this to another native speaker, and we agree that the sentence still seems odd.
    – Pitarou
    Sep 13, 2012 at 4:02

Look can be a stative verb, but it can also be a plain intranstive verb. For example, in

Everybody looked at John,

it's an intransitive verb. In

John looked funny,

it's a stative verb. In "everybody looked inside", looked is an intransitive verb, and inside is an adverb of place. In "it looks like our home inside", looks is a stative verb, like our home is the subject complement, and inside is an adverb of place. You could rewrite the sentence to be "Inside, it looks like our home."

  • Sorry, Peter, but I think I confused you with my unclear question. I was asking about the inside in "It looks like our house inside,". I've amended my question to clarify. Are you saying that "It looks like our house inside." is grammatically correct?
    – Pitarou
    Sep 10, 2012 at 7:47
  • @Pitarou He's saying that both uses of inside are an adverb of place.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 10, 2012 at 10:54

If you put a comma in there, the sentence is okay. "It looks like our house, inside." "House inside" is definitely wrong. The comma takes the place of the assumed words "on the." "It looks like our house on the inside." I can't give you the grammatical rules; I forgot them a long time ago! (I know this response is late, Pitarou- I hope you find it.) (How funny, Mike is the only one that seems to understand, yet he got thumbs down!)


I suggest it is a noun, the inside of our house or our house on the inside.

  • 2
    We're thinking the same things, but you haven't really explained why. Why is it OK to say, "It's warm inside." but not OK to say, "It looks like our house inside."
    – Pitarou
    Sep 10, 2012 at 7:48

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