'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

Submitted by Abdulrazak Nuh Ahmed on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 14:56

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Really, this has been helpful. Thank you teachers.

Submitted by CABAUR on Mon, 20/04/2020 - 03:19

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Very helpful to remember the correct use of these conjunctions.

Submitted by Abuelisa on Sun, 19/04/2020 - 21:06

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As I expected, this lesson has been very useful, thank very much teacher.

Submitted by Romii on Sat, 11/04/2020 - 11:14

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Hello teacher! I have understood that "as if and as though" are used to compare a real situation to an imaginary one, but the question is, can I say "she replied to all the questions that were asked by the pharmacist as though she studied medicine"?

Hello Romii

It's hard for me to say without knowing whether the person you are talking about studied medicine or not. In any case, it would be better to say 'as though she had studied medicine' if you are imagining that she studied medicine before the time the pharmacist and this woman spoke. If you say this, it means that the woman ('she') did not study medicine.

If that's not clear, could you please provide another example and explain what is true and what is imaginary?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ibra abdellaoui on Fri, 10/04/2020 - 12:22

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hello , thank you for theese explanations, but it's still confusing for me ,may be i have to focus in more. thank you teachers and i m sorry for my english

Submitted by itspb008 on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 15:32

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Sir can we use like in comparision of a real situation to a imaginary situation? such as It's feels like I'm floating in air. Is it correct or incorrect?

Hello itspb008,

Both like and as if can be used for comparisions to real and imaginary situations.

The difference between like and as if is one of form rather than meaning. In traditional grammars, like is a preposition and as (if) is a conjunction. That means that like should be followed by an object - a noun phrase or pronoun, for example, rather than a clause, while as (if) should be followed by a sentence containing a verb phrase. However, this distinction has largely disappeared in all but the most formal writing, I would say, and in modern English like and as (if) are used interchangeably.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zabihullah on Thu, 02/04/2020 - 16:16

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It seems as though I have lost the power to prevent my distraction.

Submitted by Chihchieh on Mon, 30/03/2020 - 09:52

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Hi teachers, There is one example "I felt as if I was floating above the ground.", can I say "I felt LIKE I was floating above the ground."? As I usually hear others using like instead of as if. Thanks.

Hello Chihchieh

Yes, in informal speaking or writing, that is fine. As it says near the bottom of the Grammar explanation:

** Note that in informal speech, people sometimes say 'like' for 'in the way that'.

Your sentence is a good example of this.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ozgecrbc on Sun, 29/03/2020 - 22:37

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Hello Teachers, Firstly, I am so glad to find out this website and this article.It seems so useful to improve our english skills. and I have some questions. These are questions: 1.I am always confused to use 'as' instead of 'because' I can't understand what is difference because most people use only because.(for example, I had to return to my country because my school was closed ..or Can ı use 'as my school was closed' When should we prefer to use 'as' instead of 'because?' 2. to use as 'while' For example, as they arriving, we were leaving or Can we also use 'while' and 'when' they arriving, we were leaving instead of 'as', Thank you

Hello ozgecrbc,

The differences between because and as are small and really deal with whether the speaker is placing emphasis on the reason for something or the result. You can read more about it on this page:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/as-because-or-since

 

While suggests that one action was already in progress when another action occurred or began. For example:

He arrived while I was speaking on the phone.

Here, the act of speaking on the phone begins before his arrival and is in progress when he arrives.

 

When tends to be used when two events occur at the same time, or start at the same time. This is why when tends to be used with simple forms rather than continuous. For example:

We ate dinner when he arrived.

Here, dinner does not begin until he arrives. The implication is that we were waiting for him and did not want to start until he arrived. The two actions form a sequence rather than occurring simultaneously.

It is possible to use when with a similar meaning to while when there is a continuous verb:

He arrived when we were eating dinner.

 

As describes simultaneous actions. One action can occur during an already in-progress action (as with while) if a continuous verb is used, or the actions can occur at the same precise moment when simple forms are used:

I saw him as he left the building.

We do not use as to describe sequential actions.

 

You can read more about this on this page:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/as-when-or-while

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mr. Mohmmad on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 20:33

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I think this lesson was a bit confused to me but it has been cleared for me , and that's because the explanation and the examples were interesting.

Submitted by BereniceHdzO on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 04:02

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The information on the page is very good and helps with any questions that may arise. I looked for topics of report speech and as and like, without a doubt it gave me good information and grammar

Submitted by IvanGranados11 on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 02:26

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This article was very interesting to me because the way it explains this topic, in the same way the activity was made as correct as possible to explain the topic to us.

Submitted by Paola Pérez Cerón on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 20:59

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I was a little confused about this topic, but now I totally understand how I can use this two Woods.

Submitted by julianneitzel on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 06:23

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These articles helped me to learn differences between "like and as", their examples are very clear and brief. All right!

Submitted by Guillermo Lozano on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 00:15

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I like the way they explain the topics. They do it in an easy and simple way, with easy examples that you can use in any situation. The tests really help you to reinforce the knowledge since they are easy and very practical.

Submitted by franciscobo on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 19:38

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very good page to study english and practice it

Submitted by Kaisoo93 on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 07:15

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Hello Teachers, "AI can perform better than human, 1) it is not emotional as human do" 2) it is not emotional like human" 3) it is not emotional as human be" which one(s) is correct? Thanks

Hello Kaisoo93

It's strange to use 'as' here, since really AI is not emotional at all; if you use 'as', it implies that AI can experience emotions at least a little bit. The second sentence could be correct, but please note you'd need to change 'human' to 'humans'.

What I'd recommend is something like 'AI performs better than humans because it is not emotional like humans are' or 'AI performs better than humans because it is not impeded by emotions'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lidyakim on Fri, 20/03/2020 - 03:42

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Hello, good morning sir This time i practice my grammar skill by doing the grammar test, but there are two questions that is confusing me, these are the questions: 1...... we were late, we had to get an expensive taxi (as/like) My answer: I choose as, but it's wrong, why was wrong? 2. I like listening to music .... I do the ironing (as/like) My answer: I choose as, but it's wrong Could you give me some explanations to both of them? I just want to make it clear, if it was because of technology error or i got them wrong (missunderstanding)

Hello lidyakim,

Both questions are answered with as. However, the first question needs to have a capital lettter so you need to choose As rather than as.

I'm not sure why the second question was marked incorrect when you chose as. I tested the task myself and it accepted the answer as correct. Please try again to see if you still have a problem.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lidyakim on Thu, 19/03/2020 - 04:28

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Good morning, sir!. First of all, i want to say i'm so grateful to know about this website. It helps a lot like the lessons of each level of english, the english test that you've given to us as a learner and etc. And now, after i study about how to use "as and like properly", what do you think abou this sentence: My face is as beautiful as russian girls. Should i use "are" at the behind of "russian girls" or not. And i compare my face with russian girls (which means plural) to my face (which means singular), is it correct to both of them? Or the sentence should be this one: My face is as beautiful as russian girl (?) I apologize if my english is a bit confusing. hope you get what i mean.

Hello lidyakim

Your sentence is grammatically correct, but I would recommend changing it to the singular. In other words, instead of 'Russian girls', I'd say 'a Russian girl'. And really, if you want to compare your face to the face of a Russian girl, it'd be better to say 'a Russian girl's' (which means 'a Russian girl's face').

The same would be true with other objects. For example, if you want to compare your face to a rose, it'd be better to say 'as beautiful as a rose' instead of 'as beautiful as roses'.

Does that make sense?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

As an example, let's say you wanted to make a comparison to a flower, for example, a rose. It would be more natural to say 'as beautiful as a rose', or, if you wanted to speak about a lot of roses, 'as beautiful as a bunch of roses'

Submitted by Akashtigile on Wed, 11/03/2020 - 19:37

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You haven't explained conjunction or relative pronoun such as "such........as", "such... that", "so.......as", and "so......that". Please explain all these.

Hello Akashtigile,

The pages have to be somewhat limited in scope as otherwise they would become extremely long and their usefulness would be compromised.

 

We're happy to try to help out with particular examples. However, some of the phrases you mention could refer to a range of structures, however. For example, such...as can be used to introduce an example (I want to get a friendly dog, such as a golden retriever or a labrador) or to introduce a particular type of comparison (It was not such a difficult conversation as I had imagined).

 

If you have any questions about the phrases you mentioned then please provide an example sentence and we'll be happy to comment on it. That way we can be sure that we are addressing the issue you have and not some other use.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sihamkaddouri on Mon, 09/03/2020 - 09:19

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Hi, I can't make différence between us if and us though, should you help me please? Thanks

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 09/03/2020 - 13:10

In reply to by sihamkaddouri

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Hello sihamkaddouri

There is no real difference in meaning between 'as if' and 'as though' -- they mean the same thing and are used in the same way. The only real difference is that 'as if' is a little more informal than 'as though'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mimijoy on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 11:14

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There is joy in learning

Submitted by Vincent_MARTIN… on Tue, 11/02/2020 - 08:07

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Hello, I look like Sanja! I don't get the subtelties about "as if" and "as though", "like" and "such as"! Could you give me more details? Many thanks.

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 11/02/2020 - 11:06

In reply to by Vincent_MARTIN…

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Hello Vincent

We're happy to help you if you have any specific questions that you have about this grammar. Studying the grammar and discovering what you find difficult will be helpful for you, and will also allow you to ask questions that we can more effectively answer.

Best wishes

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Azinha on Thu, 06/02/2020 - 08:23

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I will try my best to not repeatedly do error again when I have to use "as and like". It is fabulous.

Submitted by Sanja on Wed, 05/02/2020 - 22:44

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I was confused about "as if" and "as though", but now, after your explanation, I understand. Thank you.

Submitted by eng_eman_2009 on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 18:15

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It's nice..Finished
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