Like vs. As

English Grammar Rules

We generally use LIKE and AS to make comparisons.


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


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

It is very 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/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:


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).

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