Like vs As.

Like vs As – different usage in English.

‘LIKE’ when used as a Preposition means to be similar to somebody or something else.
‘AS’ when used as an Adverb means to actually be, or be the same way as
somebody or something else.
  • LIKE vs AS

    In sentences that use like vs as, the meanings are different.

    • Like your friend Joe, I am not married. (I am similar to your friend Joe).
    • As your friend, I advise you against marriage. (I am your friend.)

 

  • LIKE

    The form is generally: verb + like + noun / pronoun / gerund. (A gerund is a verb that acts like a noun.)

    • She speaks like an English person.
    • He behaves like a spoilt child.
    • Dancing with you is like dancing on air.

 

  • AS

    The form is generally: as + adverbial clause.

    • It started life as a caterpillar, but became a butterfly.
    • She used the sofa as a bed in her small apartment.
  •  

  • AS __ AS

    The two words as __ as are used to compare two things or people.

    • She was as thin as a scarecrow.
    • He is as blind as a bat.

 

  • AS IF – AS THOUGH

    We can also use as if or as though to make a comparison, but if the sentence is in the Past tense then the following verb should be in the Past Subjunctive.**

    • He looked as if he were guilty.
    • He ate as though he hadn’t eaten for weeks.
  • ** We have no separate ‘tense’ for the Subjunctive in English; we just use the Past Simple – but with one exception!  When requiring the Past Subjunctive of the verb To Be, we should use WERE for all persons.
    In spoken English today this rule is often forgotten and WAS is still used for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons singular. This is quite informal however, and grammatically incorrect.

  • I’m so comfortable, I feel as if I were (was) in my own bed.
  • He spoke to me as though he were (was) my friend.

 

REMEMBER:  Don’t use LIKE as a conjunction. Many people do – but it is incorrect.
Preposition usage: You look like your mother. Correct
Conjunction usage: You look like you are angry. Incorrect
Adverb Clause usage: You look as if you are angry. Correct

 

Related Content:

Dictionary.com – ‘Like vs. As’
Macmillan Dictionary – ‘AS’
Cambridge Dictionary – ‘AS’

Why not get a full course of English lessons in PDF eBook format?

There are 12 lessons in each booklet, (every lesson has exercises with answers).

Sign up for your 'How to teach English' Guide
and claim your first eBook FREE!

You will learn the grammar as you teach it!


A1 Elementary A2 Pre-Intermediate Easy English Lessons - Buy Now
B1 Intermediate B2 Upper Intermediate