Like vs. As

English Grammar Rules

We generally use LIKE and AS to make comparisons.


LIKE = similar to; the same as.

The structure of the sentence is usually: VERB + LIKE + NOUN / PRONOUN.

LIKE is mainly used as a comparison.


AS = the way; in the same way; in the same condition

The structure of the sentence is usually: AS + SUBJECT + VERB.

Notice how you could replace AS with 'the way' or 'in the same way' and maintain the same meaning.

It is common in American English to use LIKE instead of AS. However, it is generally considered informal to use it in this way.

Another use of AS is to say what the role/position/function of a person/thing is.


Be careful, in similar sentences that use LIKE and AS, the meanings of each sentence are very different. For example:

Another example with different meanings:

The difference between LIKE and AS in English


In English we also use as if to make comparisons. However it has a few distinct characteristics to its use:

1. The verb after AS IF is always in the past subjunctive, no matter what tense the sentence is.

2. If the verb BE directly follows AS IF, we use were for all personal pronouns.

(The verbs LOOKS indicates this sentence is in the present – but the verb after AS IF – knew - is in the past subjuntive).

(The verb after AS IF – be – has been changed to were and not was).

Using AS + Adjective + AS

We use this structure to talk about people, animals or things which are equal in some way. This is a form of comparison.

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