'as' and 'like'

Do you know how to use like and as? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how as and like are used.

I worked as an actor for two years.
I went home early as I felt ill. 
He looks as if he hasn't slept.
As you know, this is the third time I've had to complain.
He looks like his dad. 
She's like a sister to me.
Try to do something relaxing, like reading a book or having a bath.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

'as' and 'like': Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

as and like are often confused since they can both be used for comparisons. There are, however, important differences.

Making comparisons

as + adjective + as and as much as

We often use the structure as + adjective + as or as much as to say if something has, or doesn't have, the same amount of that quality as something else. 

She loves curry as much as I do.
He's not as tall as his brother.
It's not as expensive as the other hotel.
That dog is as big as that child!

You also have to use as in the expression the same as.

Your phone is the same as mine.
Texting is not the same as speaking in person.

like + noun

In the following comparisons, like is followed by a noun or a pronoun to say that two things are similar.

He's like a father to me.
She's acting like a child.
It's like a burger but with big mushrooms instead of bread.
There are lots of people like us.

It is also common to make comparisons using like with verbs of the senses.

She looks like her mother.
It sounds like a cat.
Nothing tastes like homemade lemonade.
It smells like medicine.
It feels like cotton.

as if/as though + clause

As if and as though can be used to compare a real situation to an imaginary situation. They are followed by a clause (a subject and verb).

You look as if you've seen a ghost.
I felt as if I was floating above the ground.
You talk as though we're never going to see each other again.

Giving examples

We can say like or such as to give examples. 

You could try a team sport like football, basketball or hockey.
You should take something soft, such as a towel, to lie on.

 

Talking about a job or function

We can use as + noun to talk about a job or function. 

I worked as a shop assistant for two years.
He used his coat as a blanket to keep warm.

 

as to connect two phrases

as can be used as a conjunction to connect two phrases. It can have different meanings.

as = 'because'

All the tickets were sold out as we got there too late.
As the road was closed, I had to park on the next street.

as = 'while' or 'during the time that'

She called as I was getting out of the bath.
As they were arriving, we were leaving.

as'in the way that'

As we expected, it started to rain.
As you know, classes restart on 15 January.
As I said, I think this project will be a challenge.

** Note that in informal speech, people sometimes say like for 'in the way that'.

Like I said, I didn't know her.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

'as' and 'like': Grammar test 2

Language level

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Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

Submitted by Shishirsharma on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 05:25

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I have completed this test but i am literally confused in grammar 2 test question number 7 it is about insects and butterflies

Hello Shishirsharma,

In question 7 of Grammar test 2 the correct answer is like.

 

The sentence contains some examples, which is why like is used. For example, here is the sentence without those examples:

Many fruit trees need insects to help them produce fruit.

We use like to add examples:

Many fruit trees need insects like bees and butterflies to help them produce fruit.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alinestela on Wed, 10/06/2020 - 04:59

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Hello, I already completed this lesson, I just have a doubt, Why the answer in question number 7 is "like" ? All my answer were correct but I just have doubt in number 7. Thank you!! :)
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Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 10/06/2020 - 07:20

In reply to by Alinestela

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Hello Alinestela,

I guess you are referring to the second exercise (Grammar test 2). The answer here is like because it introduces some examples. You can use like here or such as, but not just as.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by VERYKEYS on Tue, 09/06/2020 - 21:04

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I feel very different after reading and practice this session as it changed my knowledge on how to differentiate AS and LIKE. Thank you guys

Submitted by Scommel on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 18:54

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"And then the man he steps right up to the microphone , and says at last just as the time bell rings : thanks you goodnight now it is time to go home and he makes it fast with one more thing we are the sultans of swing"

Submitted by Mekhri Mahksetova on Sun, 31/05/2020 - 05:47

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How it is good!! very easy to understand. thank you all who worked on it
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Submitted by Aisha na Shadee on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 21:33

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You guys are realy awesome W'v been talking as if we knew each other years back. As I'm going back home I'll tell my people about your kindness and love to me. Thanks again and I hope you'll visit my country in the future.

Submitted by Chairul25 on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 12:40

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Thanks for this free course and the detail that help me to understand the difference of using as and like, it's very useful. Thanks a lot.

Submitted by DW on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 02:57

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Thanks for detail explanation for "as" and "like"! It is very clear and I find that it is very useful! Thanks!