Friday, May 22, 2009

Like vs. As/As If/As though

Use like before a noun or pronoun. Use as before a clause, adverb or prepositional phrase. Use as if and as though before a clause. Like is generally used as a preposition in such a context. As is generally used as a conjunction of manner while sometimes serving as a preposition with the meaning of "in the capacity of". As you can tell, the focus of the comparison shifts from the noun when used with like to the verb when used with as, as if, or as though.

My mother's cheesecake tastes like glue.
I love frozen pizza because there is no other snack like it.
My mother's cheesecake tastes great, as a mother's cheesecake should.
There are times, as now, that learning grammar becomes important.
He golfed well again, as in the tournament last year.
He served as captain in the navy.
He often told half-truths, as any politician would.
He looks as if he knows me.
It looked as if a storm were on the way.
He yelled at me as though it were my fault.

The same rule applies when you use the expressions seem like and look like.

He seemed like a nice guy at first.
That looks like a very tasty cake.

Wrong: It seemed like he liked me.
Correct: It seemed as if he liked me.
Here the comparison is with a clause, not a noun.


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