Difference between Like and As

Language is a fascinating tool that allows us to express our thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Two commonly used words that often cause confusion in English are “like” and “as.” While they share some similarities, they serve distinct purposes in a sentence. This article aims to unravel the nuances of “like” and “as” and provide a comprehensive understanding of their differences.

What is Like?

The word “like” is primarily used as a preposition or a conjunction in English. When used as a preposition, “like” implies similarity between two things, indicating that they share certain characteristics. For example:

  • She walks like a dancer.
  • The car is red, like a firetruck.

What is “As”?

On the other hand, “as” functions as a conjunction or an adverb. When used as a conjunction, “as” establishes a relationship of equality or proportionality between two clauses. For example:

  • She runs as fast as a cheetah.
  • He spoke confidently, as a leader should.

Related: Difference between And and Or

Difference between Like and As:

  1. Usage as a Preposition or Conjunction:
    • “Like” is mainly used as a preposition to indicate similarity between nouns.
    • “As” functions as both a conjunction and an adverb, indicating the manner in which something is done or the degree to which something is true.
  2. Comparison:
    • “Like” is used to compare nouns, highlighting similarities.
    • “As” is used to compare actions or situations, focusing on the manner or degree of the comparison.
  3. Preceding a Noun:
    • “Like” is often followed by a noun.
    • “As” is typically followed by a clause or a verb.
  4. Informality vs. Formality:
    • “Like” is generally considered more informal.
    • “As” is often used in more formal or academic contexts.
  5. Subjective vs. Objective Comparison:
    • “Like” is often used for subjective comparisons based on appearances.
    • “As” is used for objective comparisons, emphasizing facts and qualities.

Comparison Table:

Feature Like As
Usage Preposition Conjunction, Adverb
Comparison Type Noun-Noun Action or Situation
Followed by Noun Clause, Verb
Informality/Formality Informal Formal, Academic
Subjective/Objective Subjective (appearance) Objective (facts, qualities)


In summary, the distinction between “like” and “as” lies in their roles as prepositions or conjunctions and the types of comparisons they facilitate. While “like” focuses on the similarity between nouns, “as” emphasizes the manner or degree of actions or situations. Understanding the subtle differences can significantly enhance your communication skills and contribute to clearer and more effective expression in the English language.

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