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Hi,

I have two questions in the writing below.

Though she seemed old at the time, the agent was most likely fresh out of college. She walked beside me and asked what appeared to be an innocent and unrelated question: "So, which do you like better, State or Carolina? "

***

"I see." She led me through an unmarked door near the principal's office, into a small, windowless room furnished with two facing desks. It was the kind of room where you'd grill someone until they snapped, the kind frequently painted so as to cover the bloodstains. She gestured toward what was to become my regular seat, then continued her line of questioning.

1) Is there a fundamental different between "look old", "appear old" and "seem old"?

2) It is a humorous line, and what does this "snapped" mean? When I look it up, they basically says, "shouting aloud" but can this mean like "confessing"?

Thank you,

M
Comments  
mitsuwao231) Is there a fundamental different between "look old", "appear old" and "seem old"?
Well, "seem old" could be used in non-visual situations unlike the other two, e.g. "From speaking to him over the phone, he seemed old". Otherwise there doesn't appear to be much difference to me.

mitsuwao232) It is a humorous line, and what does this "snapped" mean? When I look it up, they basically says, "shouting aloud" but can this mean like "confessing"?
I can think of two meanings: a once collected and calm person suddenly becomes very angry; or, and this is the meaning intended in the passage: a person who was once not telling you much, suddenly tells you everything you want to know.

So for the sentence, you "grill them" (you ask a lot of questions in a pressuring way), and the pressure gets to them and they cannot take it anymore and so tell you everything.
Thank you for the reply.

So do you think seem can include the meaing of "look"? because it says,

She walked beside me and asked what appeared to be an innocent and unrelated question:

To make myself clear, I'm wondering what the author is trying to describe. Looked old, makes perfect sense to me but "seemed old" in her presence doesn't. (over the phone it dose."

Thank you for your help,

M
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Yes I do. Actually I should amend what I previously said: for me, 'seemed' can be used in purely non-visual situations unlike the other two; 'appear' can refer to non-visual items too, but in conjunction with visual.

Personally I would say either 'seemed' or 'appeared' would be OK, but 'looked' not so much. Her age was assumed based not just on her looks, but the way she walked and the way she spoke; that is, it was more than just how she looked that made her appear/seem as old as she did.
Great! Thank you for your help!

M