As and like are often confused since they are both used to compare actions or situations. There are, however, important differences.


We use as to talk about job or function. 

  • I worked as a shop assistant for 2 years when I was a student.
  • He used his shoe as a hammer to hang the picture up.

In comparisons, the structure ‘as adjective as’ is often used.

  • He’s not as tall as his brother
  • She ran as fast as she could.

In the following comparisons as is a conjunction – it’s followed by a clause with a subject and a verb.

  • He went to Cambridge University, as his father had before him.
  • She’s a talented writer, as most of her family are.


In the following comparisons, like is a preposition and it’s followed by a noun or a pronoun.

  • I’ve been working like a dog all afternoon.
  • None of my brothers are much like me.
  • She looks just like her mother.

Like and As if/As though

Like, as if and as though can all be used to make comparisons. There is no difference in meaning among the 3 forms.

  • You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.
  • You talk as though we’re never going to see each other again.
  • It looks like it’s going to rain.

Expressions with ‘as’

The following expressions all use as.

  • As you know, classes restart on January 15th.
  • I tried using salt as you suggested but the stain still didn’t come out.
  • As we agreed the company will be split 50/50 between us.
  • Their house is the same as ours.