Students often get confused in the usage of 'like' and 'as'. In this article, we use simple examples to help you learn the difference for the two words.
While both the words are used for comparison, the difference between the two is a small one. The basic bone of contention for the usage of these two words is because of the fact that 'like' is a preposition and 'as' is a conjunction. This is often forgotten and 'like' is used as a conjunction.
What is a preposition and what is a conjunction?
Definition of Prepositions: Prepositions are words governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in 'the person on the platform', 'he arrived after lunch'.
Definition of Conjunctions: Conjunctions are words used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause/a connecting word.
When to use 'Like' and 'As':
In case you are comparing clauses (a clause is a part of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb), you must use 'as'. On the other hand, 'like' is used when the comparison only includes a subject.
Usage of 'Like': "Tarun cooks like his father."
Usage of 'As': "Tarun cooks as his father does."
Example for incorrect usage: "Tarun cooks like his father does."
The last sentence is incorrect as a verb; i.e. 'does' cannot be used when we use like.
Incorrect: Vipin and Nitin, as their father Hiten, are extremely short..
Correct: Vipin and Nitin, like their father Hiten, are extremely short.
Like versus As: Key Learning
An easy way to differentiate between 'like' and 'as' is to simply remember to use 'like' when no verb follows.
For example: Arun sleeps like a baby. (If the clause that comes next includes a verb, then you should use 'as'.)
For example: Arun sleeps as if he were a child.