As vs. Like

We are now into 2018 and learning English will be a resolution for many. What’s the best way to learn?

Learning English needs to be part of your daily life no matter where you are in the world. We live in a time when online content is accessible for almost everyone, but finding the right content for you is the tricky part. Everyone learns differently and finding what best suits your needs is the key.

In our last blog there are 12 common phrasal verbs and idioms. This week we are going to take a look at the difference between ‘like’ and ‘as’ and hopefully clarify any doubts you may have.

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Why is using ‘like’ and ‘as’ such a problem for Spanish speakers?

In Spanish you only have one word: ‘como’ which makes it a bit easier. Traditionally ‘like’ is a preposition and ‘as’ is a conjunction. An interesting example comes from a 1954 advertising campaign for Winston cigarettes: ‘Winston tastes good like a cigarette should’. This slogan created huge controversy to grammar gurus because ‘like’ was incorrectly used.

Was this a marketing tactic to capture the eye of the consumer? Seeing as Winston shot up the rankings to be the #1 tobacco brand in America following the advertising campaign, we would have to say it was a clever move from Winston.

The prepositions as and like have different meanings. As + noun means ‘in the role of’, like + noun means ‘similar to’ or ‘in the same way as’.

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Think about the word get which we learn as a synonym for obtain but later find out that it can also, depending on the context, mean understand.

For example: I am going to go to the shop. Would you like me to get you anything?
It took me a while to get the joke but in the end I got it.

That’s all very well and we learn these according to context but what about different words which are closely linked and express similar ideas but sound strange to a native ear when they’re used incorrectly?

Words like take and have to talk about food, drink and medicine can cause a lot of confusion for learners of English.

For example: We have a drink but take a shot.

We have a pizza for lunch but we take a bite of pizza.

We have an injection but take a pill.

Like most things in life, it’s a question of practice. We need to be practising English as much as possible in order to see how and when these words are used.

We’re going to look at two words which are very closely linked and extremely common in everyday English.

Take a look at the short text above and you’ll see two words repeatedly highlighted in bold.

Like
and as.
Let’s look at these two words in more detail.

We probably know that as is used in comparisons.

For example: John is as tall as Steven.
Iceland is not as hot as Spain.

We probably know that like is used to give examples.

For example: I enjoy lots of sports

However, there are some slight differences in their usage.
Both like and as can be used to express similarity.

  • Like can be a preposition and is used before nouns and pronouns. We do not use as.
    For example: I look like my dad.
    The chocolated tasted like
  • As can be used to talk about the function or role of a person or thing.
    In this instance, as also functions as a preposition.
    For example:
    My brother worked as a chef for 4 years.
    The girl used her lipstick as a pen to write the information down.Feel like / feel as if – want/seemI feel like a coffee (I want a coffee)
    It feels as if I am floating (It seems like I am but I am not)

We hope you have enjoyed our blog this week. If you have any doubts, feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help.

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