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 (52 votes)
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Submitted by Uyen123 on Sat, 11/11/2023 - 06:32


Hi, Can I rewrite the sentence like this?
My mother is the most warm-hearted person I've ever known.
-> I have never known such a warm-hearted person like my mother.
'such' is for emphasis (such a good film), 'like' in similar to, in the same way as (a warm-hearted person like my mom), not such as the fixed phrase.
Thank you!

Hello Uyen123,

No, I'm afraid not. After 'such' you need to use 'as': (such a.... as....) and you can't replace it with 'like'.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, Thank you for you reply. But i'm still a bit confused.
In Cambridge Dictionary, such (1st meaning): used before a noun or noun phrase to add emphasis. Such ... as is in the 2nd meaning if such: of the particular or similar type. I feel like 'like' can be replaced and understood as similar (1st meaning)
- I've never met such a warm-hearted person like/ similar to my mother.
Thanks for your clarification.

Hi Uyen123,

Like shows similarity but does not directly compare two things in terms of degree. For that kind of comparison you need such as. In fact, 'as' is key for showing degree and you can see it in many phrases: as big as / so big as / such a big thing as.

You can read more on the subject here:



The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user oyo

Submitted by oyo on Tue, 19/09/2023 - 16:23



Submitted by User_1 on Fri, 07/07/2023 - 15:08


As for making comparisons: the choice between structure "as + adjective + as" and "like + noun".
In the example above: "He's not as tall as his brother".
If I write: "He is not tall like his brother", will this sentence be correct
as well?
In this case, could they be interchangeable?
Thanks for your help

Hi User_1,

The meanings are very very similar, but not identical.

He is not tall like his brother means that the brother is tall and he is not. It imagines "tallness" as a binary category (tall / not tall). The sentence therefore tells us that "he" is significantly shorter than his brother.

He's not as tall as his brother means something like "He doesn't have the same amount of tallness as his brother". We imagine "tallness" as a continuous scale, and we understand that "he" is lower on the scale that the brother. He could be a little lower or a lot lower - the amount is not stated.

One possible meaning of this sentence is that "he" is nearly as tall as his brother, but just a tiny bit shorter. (The sentence with "like" cannot have this meaning.)

It's a small difference and unlikely to be important in most cases!

I hope that helps.


LearnEnglish team

Thank you Jonathan, I got it.
As negative forms have different meanings.
Instead, the positive sentences:
"He is tall like his brother" and "He is as tall as his brother"
Are they interchangeable?
Thanks a lot!

Hi User_1,

Similar to the negative examples, there are also small differences in meaning.

If you say He is tall like his brother, we understand that both of them are tall. But, they are not necessarily the exact same height - we just know that they are both tall.

If you say He is as tall as his brother, they are exactly the same height.


LearnEnglish team

Thanks Jonathan for your complete and detailed explanation!
"Similar to..." great expression. I should learn to use it.