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'as' and 'like'

Do you know how to use as and like correctly?

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

Intermediate: B1

Comments

To be a master of English it's important to understand such lingual niceties as the correct use of the structures with 'as' and 'like': the grammar explanation – as for me – is supportive, complete, confirmed by illustrative examples, generally speaking is perfect.

hey! thanks for this lesson, i work as a teacher to understand using ''as'' and '' like'' .

Hello Sir,
In English, do we say “ I don’t play basketball as well as he does” or “ I play basketball not as well as he does”?
Thank you very much

Hello mynameiscg,

The first one is correct, and the second one is not.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, thanks for your site. Is it possible to learn English self-study?

Hello PLion2020,

Most people can learn a lot from self-study. We've had users who reported making lots of progress by using our Skills and Podcasts, so I'd encourage you to check those out. You might also want to consider subscribing -- there are already hours and hours worth of materials available there, and every month we add more new materials there.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Teacher !

I'd like to know, if there is a spécific meaning if I use "as if" or " As thoug"
for exemple :
" You look as if you've see a ghost " , can I also say " You look as thoug you've seen a ghost" if there is a difference betwen "as if" and "as Thouh" what is the right way to use them ?

Hello flowerpower,

Aside from 'as if' being a little more informal, there is no difference in meaning between 'as if' and 'as though'. You could use either of them in that sentence and they'd both mean the same thing.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Teachers I'm totally confused about the structure of "as if"....
I have read that we must use past tense after "as if" when we're taking about imaginary comparison, then why the above example "You look as if you have seen a ghost" is in present tense(present perfect) ????
Isn't ghost an imaginary thing? Or we're considering that it might be real?

Hello MARUFA MARJAN PRITHIE,

You're correct that we use a present form after 'as if' when we consider the situation true or possible, so 'as if you had seen...' is strictly the logical choice here. However, people are not always entirely logical and the speaker in this example is speaking as if it were true that ghosts exist. I can't say if they really believe in ghosts or if they are simply saying this for rhetorical effect.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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