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

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LOVE IT IT IS INTRESTING AND AWESOME AND I LEARNED ALOT

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

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Hello,
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.

Jonathan

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.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

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

Submitted by Bede on Mon, 10/04/2023 - 13:30

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This lesson was really interesting. Good job 👍🏽.

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Submitted by Su.Hlaing.Win on Sun, 02/04/2023 - 09:10

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- I work as a chef for living.
- The comfortable clothes should be brought as the weather in Asia is humid.
- Language proficiency is as important as teaching techniques to become a good English teacher.
- Chatting on social media is not as talking in person.
- She looks as if she has visited my hometown.
- I felt as though I had seen that film.
- As I mentioned, I am not affordable to buy the luxury products.
- My dad was driving to the market to take my mom as she already got home.

- Susi looks like her grandma.
- I prefer water sports like surfboarding, windsurfing and waterskiing.

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Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Tue, 14/03/2023 - 06:47

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Sir,
My question may not be relevant for the topic - apologies for that!

How are 'engrossed' and 'intent' synonymous? 'Intent' is the solution for 'engrossed' - for a six letters puzzle.

Regards
Dipak R Gandhi

Hello Dipak,

I don't think they are synonymous. 'Engrossed (in)' means something like 'fascinated by', while 'intent' is an alternative way to say 'intention'. You can also say 'intent (on)' which means 'focused on' in the sense of achieving a goal.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team