Unit 107. Like and as

Like = similar to / the same as / for example:

  • What a beautiful house! It’s like a palace, (not as a palace)
  • “What does George do?” “He’s a teacher, like me.” (not as me)
  • Why do you always talk about boring things like your job?
  • Be careful! The floor was just waxed. It’s like walking on ice.
  • It’s raining again. I hate weather like this.

    Like is a preposition. So it is followed by a noun (“like a palace / like your job”), a pronoun (“like me / like this”), or -ing (“like walking”). You can also say “like (someone/something) -ing”:

  • “What’s that noise?” “It sounds like a baby crying.”

    We use as before a subject + verb:

  • Don’t move anything. Leave everything as it is.

    Compare like and as in these sentences:

  • You should have done it like this, (like + pronoun)
  • You should have done it as I showed you. (as + subject + verb)

    But we use such as (= for example) without a verb:

  • Some sports, such as auto racing, can be dangerous. Note that we say as usual:
  • You’re late as usual.

    As + subject + verb can have other meanings. For example:

  • Do as you are told! (= Do what you are told.)
  • They did as they promised. (= They did what they promised.)

    You can also say as you know / as we expected / as I said / as I thought, etc.:

  • As you know, it’s Tom’s birthday next week. (= you know this already)
  • Ann failed her driving test, as we expected.

    D.As can also be a preposition (which means you can use it with a noun), but the meaning is different from like.

    We use like when we compare things:

  • She looks beautiful – like a princess, (she isn’t really a princess)
  • Everyone is sick at home. Our house is like a hospital, (it isn’t really a hospital)

    We use as + noun to say what something really is or was (especially when we talk about someone’s job or how we use something):

  • A few years ago I worked as a waiter. (I really was a waiter)
  • Sue has just found a job as a sales clerk.
  • During the war this hotel was used as a hospital, (so it really was a hospital)
  • We don’t have a car, so we use the garage as a workshop.
  • The news of her death came as a great shock, (it really was a shock)
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