'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 (6 votes)

Submitted by Ericka2002 on Wed, 10/08/2022 - 02:32

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I needed this leason

Submitted by dayanalipe on Tue, 19/07/2022 - 21:10

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Hi Teacher!
When giving examples:
You could try a team sport like football, basketball or hockey.
You should take something soft, such as a towel, to lie on.

Do we always use LIKE when mentioning a list, and SUCH AS when just naming a unique option? is that a rule?

Hi dayanalipe,

You can use both of these for both uses:

You could try a team sport like football, basketball or hockey.

You should take something soft, like a towel, to lie on.

You could try a team sport such as football, basketball or hockey.

You should take something soft, such as a towel, to lie on.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sky Light,

I think they are quite neutral in terms of style. You could use them in both formal and informal contexts.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Omair Ahmad Zai on Fri, 15/07/2022 - 06:10

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It was really helpful for me.
Thanks at all!!

Submitted by Agness on Tue, 12/07/2022 - 18:15

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Hi, teacher. I have a question. In the sentence "We've only just met, but I feel like though I've known you all my life. " Why "like" is incorrect?

Hello Agness,

There are three correct ways to express this idea using these words:

  1. 'I feel like I've known you'
  2. 'I feel as though I've known you'
  3. 'I feel as if I've known you'.

It's not correct to say 'like though'.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dianarosedi on Mon, 04/07/2022 - 18:22

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Hi teacher, I have a question. In the sentence " I slept on the train, using my jacket like a pillow." Why "like" is incorrect?