Difference Between As and Like

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 06, 2022

       

Difference Between As and Like Difference Between As and Like

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Introduction

To be compared to anyone or anything is a fairly common scenario faced by most of us. Come on! You have been compared to at least one person at least once in your life. If you were an average student growing up in school, there is a high chance that your parents compared you to the quintessential ‘Sharmaji’s’ son or daughter, who was always credited with the best marks and praised by the academic staff. And let us not forget the nosy neighbours forever looking for the news about how you are faring better or worse than that golden child.

The comparisons do not end there. It is worse enough to be compared to the outsider, but it hurts harder when the comparison is at home. Mostly because it is a constant reminder. The complaints – “Why can’t you be more like your elder sister?” or “Why don't you study as hard as your brother?” Yes, these observations are annoying prompts that signal that you can never be as good as them. You cannot very well get rid of your perfect elder sibling (even though murdering them has probably dominated your daydreams). Not unless they do it themselves by moving out. Even then, to move out and have a successful and thriving career becomes a goal that you also need to aim for. Let us face it, most times, comparisons are the worst. But they are also used for geography, politics, economy, development etc. to understand better if one concept or region fares better than the other, which helps in learning about the progress of the world at large.

As vs Like

While making explicit equal comparisons (whether they are pointless and petty or useful and informative), people often use the words – as and like. While they can be used interchangeably when making equal comparisons, they are rather particular in their usage. “As” is used to refer to the character or the occupation of a person, while “like” is used for terms that we prefer or enjoy doing. There are more differences between the two terms.

Differences Between As and Like in a Tabular Form

Table: As vs Like
Parameters of Comparison
As
Like
Meaning
The word “as” is used in comparisons. It is used to refer to a degree of something.
The word “like” is used to show that a person enjoys or prefers something or someone.
Parts of Speech
“As” is used as an adverb, a preposition and conjunction.
“Like” is used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition and conjunction.
Use when followed by a noun
When used before a noun, “as” means “in the role of”.
When used before a noun, “like” means “similar to”.
Comparison
“As” is followed by a clause.
“Like” is followed by a noun phrase.
Examples
The examples of the use of “as” are as follows:
  • As an adverb: “He will be as tall as his father.”
  • As a preposition: “She works as a clerk.”
  • As conjunction: “She can go last as she is the shortest.”
The examples of the use of “like” are as follows:
  • As a noun: “She was an amazing artist, we won’t see her like again.”
  • As a verb: “I like the new phone.”
  • As an adjective: “This gathering is full of like minds.”
  • As an adverb: “She’s like, really pretty to look at.”
  • As a preposition: “It is not like you to be so shy, is something the matter?”
  • As conjunction: “Like most people, I enjoy watching TV.”
Etymology
The word “as” is derived from Old English ‘alswa’ in the 1200 c., which means, “quite so or wholly so.”
The word “like” is derived from Old English ‘like’ in the 1300 c., where it means, “an equal or a match.”

When do we use “As”?

The word “as” is generally used to make comparisons. It indicates the degree of an individual or an object. It can also be used to refer to a person’s occupation, functions or characteristics. In most contexts, though, it is used to mean “in the same way”. It can be used as an adverb, a preposition and a conjunction.

Examples of the use of the word “as” in different parts of speech.

  • As an adverb: When used as an adverb, it can show comparisons between someone or something.

For example:

I can run as fast as you.

Feel her nose – it is as cold as ice.

  • As a preposition: When used as a preposition, it is used to describe the purpose or quality of someone or something.

For example:

The news of her death came quite as a shock to her.

Their latest film was described as a thriller.

  • In conjunction: When used as a conjunction, it is used to mean “because” or to say “in a similar way”.

For example:

As it was getting dark, I decided to book a hotel.

This girl is tired and should not be disturbed as she might start crying.

Knowing him as I do, he would not jump.

As is the case with children, Cooper was interested in his new toy for about ten seconds.

When do we use “Like”?

The word “like” is generally used to denote that one prefers or enjoys someone or something. It can also be used to state that someone or something is similar to another person or thing. It can be used as a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a preposition and a conjunction. When used as a preposition, it is mostly followed by a noun or a pronoun and when used as a conjunction, it is mostly followed by a clause.

Examples of the word “like” in different parts of speech:

  • As a noun: When used as a noun, it is used to say that a thing, person or group is similar to the one mentioned.

For example:

He was a great artist – we won’t see his like again.

They are competing with the likes of PlayStation.

  • As a verb: “Like”, when used as a verb is used to say that one enjoys or approves of someone or something.

For example:

I quite like cheese, but I could live without it.

She would like to have soup as a starter.

  • As an adverb: When used as an adverb, it describes the feeling the narrator felt before they said something. It could also be used as an adverb to pause or give importance to a feeling.

For example:

My dog started barking at me and I’m like, “Why don’t you just chill, I will give you your treat!”

She is like, really mean – you will not be able to connect with her.

  • As an adjective: “Like”, when used as an adjective, is used to say something is similar to or the same as the other thing.

For example:

My sister expects me to enjoy her TV shows in the like manner.

It is important to be surrounded by like minds.

  • As a preposition: “Like”, when used as a preposition, is used to say “such as” or “typical of”.

For example:

I prefer hot drinks, like green tea.

It is not like him to stay quiet – is everything all right?

  • As conjunction: “Like”, when used as a conjunction, is used, again, to state that a thing is similar to another. It can also be used suggestively.

For example:

He sings like an angel.

It looks like it is going to rain. Are you carrying an umbrella?

The conundrum still occurs, though – how best to use “as” and “like”?

  • “Like” is used more than “as” to make comparisons.

For example:

He has got a pet like me.

Not: He has got a pet as me.

  • Also, while comparing behaviour, “like” is used and not “as”.

For example:

That girl looks like an actress.

Not: That girl looks as an actress.

  • “As” is more commonly used to talk about jobs.

For example:

She worked for a long time as a clerk.

Not: She worked for a long time like a clerk.

  • As conjunctions, though, “as” and “like” can be used interchangeably. Although, “like” is more informal.

For example:

Nobody dances as he does.

Nobody dances like him. (Note here that the preposition “like” is followed by the pronoun of the object).

  • “As” and “like” can both be used in the same sentence.

For example:

Complete this chore as I have explained and not like the way you have been taught.

She is as smart as her mother, but not like her aunt.

Main Differences Between As and Like In Points

Following are the main differences between as and like:

  1. The word “as” is most often used to make comparisons. It is used to refer to a degree of something. The word “like” in contrast, is most often used to show a preference for someone or something.
  2. The word “as” can be used as an adverb, a preposition and a conjunction, while the word “like” can be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, a preposition and a conjunction.
  3. The word “as” is followed most likely by a clause, whereas the word “like” is mostly followed by a noun phrase.
  4. The word “as” when used before a noun means “in the role of”, whereas when the word “like” is used before a noun, it means, “similar to”.
  5. An example of the word “as” used as an adverb is as follows: “She will study as hard as her brother”. An example of the word “like” used as an adverb is as follows: “I said, like, this is wrong.”
  6. An example of the word “as” as a preposition is as follows: “He meant it as a joke”. An example of the word “like” as a preposition is as follows: “He looks like his father.”
  7. An example of the word “as” as a conjunction is as follows: “As I was saying, she needs a haircut.” An example of the word “like” as a conjunction is as follows: “He looked like he wanted to scream.”
  8. The origin of the word “as” is from Old English ‘alswa’ in 1200 c., where it means “quite so, wholly so.” The origin of the word “like” is from Old English ‘like’ in 1300 c., where it means, “an equal or a match.”

Conclusion

“As” and “like” are, thus, words in the English language that are often used to make comparisons. “As” is used to refer to a degree of something or someone. In most contexts, it is used to mean, “in the same way”. It was derived from ‘alswa’, from Old English, which means, “quite so or wholly so”. The word “as” is usually followed by a clause. “As” can be used as an adverb, a preposition or a conjunction.

“Like”, on the other hand, can be used as different parts of speech. It is used as a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a preposition and a conjunction. It was derived from Old English – “like”, which means, “an equal or a match”. Generally, the word “like” is used to mean that a person has a preference for someone or something. It is often followed by a noun phrase. As a preposition, adjective or conjunction, it can mean a comparison between two similar things. While the uses of “as” and “like” see differences, the objective of comparison remains and is predominant. The next time someone does compare you or anything about you, perhaps, it would be best to remind them that you are unique just the way you are. And so is “Sharmaji’s” child. At home, you can remind your parents that you may have a better sibling, but maybe you are just different and not inferior. There is no shame in that. None at all. And when it comes to understanding the better comparisons – the ones for the sake of information and knowledge for future predictions (about the weather or war), you can always listen adeptly for that knowledge is not pointless and could yield fruitful results about one’s expectations.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08039410.2018.1467485?journalCode=sfds20
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/as
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/as
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=like
  5. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/like
  6. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/like_1
  7. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/as-or-like

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"Difference Between As and Like." Diffzy.com, 2022. Sun. 27 Nov. 2022. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-as-and-like-370>.



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