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As or Like?

“As” and “Like” are easily mixed up by Spanish students, since they both can be translated as “como” and they are both used to compare actions and situations. However, there are a number of relevant differences as we will see below.

Uses of “as

  • To talk about positions or functions, for instance, Mary worked as a teacher in St. Leonard’s High School for six years/As a father, it is my duty to look after my children
  • In comparatives, when the two objects we compare are equal, for example Mark is as tall as his father now. Similarly, it is used with the expression “as much as”: Study as much as you can to get good marks
  • When we talk about the way something is similar to something else. In this case “as” is a conjunction and has to be followed by a subject and a verb: He drives very carefully, as I always try to do/Tim wants to be a doctor, as his grandfather was
  • In certain expressions like “as you know”, “as you suggest”

 

Uses of “Like

  • “Like” is more common in comparisons, used as a preposition. Examples: He has been working like a slave recently and he is not taking any credit for it/France is a beautiful country, like Italy or Spain
  • Similarly, it often goes with sense verbs (sound, taste, look, feel, smell). Examples: Your perfume smells like oranges/That sounds like a firecracker
  • To give examples: I study the History of Asian countries, like China, Korea or Japan.

 

Sometimes “as” and “like” can both be used as conjunctions in comparisons, having a very similar meaning (although “as” is slightly more formal):

  • Nobody teaches maths as she does
  • Nobody teaches maths like she does

We hope this clarifies, now it is your turn to put it into practice:

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