'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 MrKara on Mon, 03/10/2022 - 19:26

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Thanks a lot for explanation! It's really great, I have understood differences between as and like. I hope in the future I'll use them in the sentences.

Submitted by Heba Samy Most… on Wed, 28/09/2022 - 15:03

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it is very very good

Submitted by Faii on Wed, 28/09/2022 - 09:58

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Im confused with the grammar rule of as if and as though.i have read in my grammar book that as if/as though are used with past even though the meaning is present.But here i found sentences
with present tense So what's the difference?when should we use them with present and when with past ?

Hello Faii,

If we use 'as if'/'as though' plus a past tense, it does indeed refer to the present. The past tense form also emphasises the unreality of the statement.

For example, if I say (1) 'She's looking at you as if she knew you', the past form 'knew' shows that I am certain that in fact she does not know you.

On the other hand, if I say (2) 'She's looking at you as if she knows you', the present form 'knows' shows that I think that perhaps she does know you.

So both 1 and 2 talk about what a situation looks like, but in 1 I think the appearance is false and in 2 I think it could be true or it could be false.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks. It makes sense but im still not totally sure .i mean I have checked another grammar book and I found this example:I feel as if I'm dying.Dying is obviously here an unreal situation then why did they use present tense here?

Hello Faii,

That's a good point -- it's possible to use a present form even when we feel confident the situation isn't true. In this case, I think it's best understood as a kind of exaggeration for emphasis. In this case, for example, the speaker may actually feel really awful, or perhaps they just want to exaggerate for some reason.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for the explanation. I got it.But if we use "as if" for past situation how will we know whether it's referring to a "past unreal situation" or a "past real situation"?
Like in this sentence-"She sounded as if She had a cold"

Hello again Faii,

I'm afraid there is no way to know simply be analysing the words themselves. Knowledge of the situation and the speaker's intentions will probably make it clear, but if not, one has to make a guess or ask for more information. In the case of sentences such as 'She looked as if she were going to explode', it's most likely safe to say this is an unreal situation, but if the context is one in which the person has experienced something difficult, 'She looked as if she were going to cry' is probably real.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by farhadwahaj on Thu, 25/08/2022 - 10:25

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I knew of as like somehow, after this lesson I learned more about as and like and on usage, it was more useful.