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Lesson 4.5

Like vs. As

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“Like” and “as” are often confused in English. Both can be used to make comparisons or to talk about similarities. It is very common in American English to use “like” instead of “as”, however this is generally considered very informal. The following is an explanation of the various uses of these two words.

Like

1. “Like” is a preposition which means “similar to” or “the same as”. “As” cannot be used in this way. As a preposition, “like” is followed by a noun or pronoun.

verb + “like” + noun/pronoun

Examples:

 She dances like a professional.
 Like me, my friend John loves the cinema.
 Michael speaks English like a native.

2. We also use “like” to say that something is typical of someone.

Examples:

 It’s so like Ben to be late.
 It’s just like Helen to laugh in uncomfortable situations.

3. We use “like” with the verb “look” to indicate that two people or things resemble or are very similar in appearance to one another.

Examples:

 I look like my mother.
 It looks like it is going to rain.
 He looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks.

4. “Like” can also be used to present examples.

Examples:

 I play many sports like football, basketball and tennis.
 There are many things we can do to protect the environment, like recycling or using renewable energy sources.
 Some people, like my friend Carol, don’t like to travel.

As

1. “As” means “in the same way as” or “in the same condition as”. As opposed to “like”, “as” is followed by a subject and a verb.

“as” + subject + verb

Examples:

 She worked hard on the project, as she always does.
 Nobody paints as Picasso did.

2. “As” is used in comparatives of inferiority and equality. [*See the lesson on comparatives and superlatives for more information.]

2. “As” is used in comparatives of inferiority and equality. [*See the lesson on comparatives and superlatives for more information.]

Examples:

 John can run as fast as Peter.
 My dad doesn’t have as much energy as he used to have.

3. As with “like”, we can use “such as” to present examples.

Examples:

 I play many sports, such as football, basketball and tennis.
 There are many things we can do to protect the environment, such as recycling or using renewable energy sources.
 Some people, such as my friend Carol, don’t like to travel.

4. When it is used as a preposition, “as” means the profession or role of something or someone.

Examples:

 She started working as a teacher 5 years ago.
 We used to live here, but now we are using the apartment as a painting studio.
 “As” can be used as a conjunction or a preposition.
Note: Keep in mind that the use of one over the other can change the meaning of the sentence.

Examples:

 As your teacher, I suggest you study more.(Meaning: I am your teacher)
 Like your teacher, I suggest you study more.(Meaning: I agree with your teacher, we have a similar opinion)

5. “As” is used in certain expressions.

Examples:

 As you know, this is not the first time your son has been a problem in class.
 As expected, Ben was late for class again today.
 As I said, I hope this is the last time you are late.
 Here is the report, as requested.
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