What is the difference between those three expressions/verbs?

I am trying to say that the recipes look (or seem/appear) delicious. Which would be more common for that phrase? What is the difference between them? Are they interchangeable?

3 Answers 3


“Elles ont l’air delicieuses” would be my choice in this context to best capture “look delicious” with little or no implied caveat of “but looks can be deceiving.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum (of these three choices), “sembler,” just likes “seems” in English, could definitely lead one to believe that the recipe’s appearance might not correspond with the truth of the matter.

In the middle, “apparaitre” is more neutral and reassuring than “sembler,” but to my ear it’s not as positive and reassuring as “avoir l’air,” and in addition, saying “Les recettes paraissent delicieuses” sounds weird to me.


Which would be more common for that phrase?

Il me semble qu'on a plus tendance à dire the recipes seem delicious

What is the difference between them?

"seem" Le sentiment que ca y ressemble, une impression subjective

"Look" C'est plus factuel

Are they interchangeable?

Tu peux interchanger avec look

  • Je suis désolé! Je n'étais pas clair. I am asking about the difference between "avoir l'air", "sembler" and "paraître". I'm American and a native English speaker :) Désolé encore
    – Jonathan H
    Feb 19, 2015 at 23:00

The word air, along with allure, translate the English noun look, which has rather sadly been used by the French recently in an attempt to sound cool.

Sinon, ces recettes m'apparaissent délicieuses.

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