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Like or As.

This is another instance where a simple rule will help you to make sense of something that many people still get wrong.

Like is a preposition (don't panic), which means that it can come before a noun but it should not come before a whole clause containing a verb. As is a conjunction, and can be used before a clause containing a verb.

As I told you, the car was parked behind a tree.

We could take a trip to the coast, just like old times.

As we thought, the weather was awful.

In formal academic text, you should avoid using 'like' in a sentence like this one.

It looks like it is going to rain.

The hero feels like he is the most powerful man on earth.

He looks like he has had a rough night.

It is better to substitute 'like' with 'as if'

It looks as if it is going to rain.

The hero feels as if he is the most powerful man on earth.

He looks as if he has had a rough night.

When listing things that are similar it is better to avoid 'like' and use 'such as', as in these examples.

The hero has many engaging qualities like courage, kindness and compassion.

The hero has many engaging qualities such as courage, kindness and compassion.

I have visited many tropical countries like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.

I have visited many tropical countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.

In this country we eat a lot of junk food like chips, hamburgers and other rubbish.

In this country we eat a lot of junk food such as chips, hamburgers and other rubbish.

Test your knowledge of like and as with this exercise.