Using 'as' and 'like'

Using '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

Average: 4.7 (59 votes)

Hi Fabio65,

It's a nice song, isn't it? :)

No, it wouldn't be wrong to say "free like a bird". The underlying structure is "like" + noun (see the page above for more examples).

The phrase "free as a bird" suggests that the full phrase would be "as free as a bird", and the first "as" has been omitted. If the full phrase is used, the second "as" cannot be replaced with "like".

I hope that helps.

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Imran 26,

We use 'as well as' when we want to add information. It has a similar meaning to 'in addition to' and we often use it when we have some new or surprising information to add to what is already known or obvious:

"The German language is spoken in Austria and Switzerland as well as in Germany."

The information after 'as well as' is already known; the information before this is possibly new.

The phrase *'as same as' is not a correct form.

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Oung on Thu, 28/10/2021 - 18:53


Is there any difference between 'as it were' and 'so to speak'? Thank you very much!

Hello Oung,

The phrases are similar.

We use these phrases when we want to show that something we said is not necessarily literally true, or should be interpreted to be understood properly.

I can't think of any specific difference between them but it's possible that one or other of the phrases might be better in particular contexts.

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user zoachristian

Submitted by zoachristian on Thu, 28/10/2021 - 06:21


No comment, very instructive

Submitted by Samqaid on Wed, 27/10/2021 - 21:37


Thanks for your help.
I highly appreciate it.
You are super teacher as me.
I really have as much experience as you.
I have a proven skills and technical methods.

Submitted by akhn on Thu, 30/09/2021 - 05:33


Teachers, I'd like to know clearly about No.6 of Exercise-2. It stated, " I slept on the train, using my jacket ---- a pillow". I confused to fill "as" or "like" in the blank. Is the jacket a similar use like a pillow or the same use as a pillow? Pls.

Hello akhn,
In this sentence, the jacket is fulfilling the function of a pillow, so 'as' is the correct answer.
All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team