Difference Between As and Like

Main Difference – As vs Like

As and Like are two words that we often use in comparing two things and we often think that these two words can be used interchangeably. But there is a distinct difference between As and Like. The main difference between these two words is that, according to traditional grammar rules, ‘as’ is a conjunction and like is a preposition. However, this rule is not strictly observed in modern usage. 

As – Meaning and Usage

‘As’ can function as an adverb, conjunction, and a preposition.

‘As’ as an Adverb

Used in Comparison

“She is as pretty as a rose.”

“He is as big as an elephant.”

‘As’ as a Conjunction

Used in Comparison

“He joined the army, as his father before him.”

“You can do as you wish.”

Used to refer to a cause

“I didn’t meet her as I was on leave that day.”

“I must go now as my mother is waiting for me.”

Implies Even though

“Sweet as she is she is not the right girl for him.”

“Questionable as it may be, we will proceed.”

Used when two things are happening at the same time

“I met him as I came out of the shop.”

“I grabbed the house keys as I left.”

‘As’ as a Preposition

Used to indicate a role

“She started working as a nurse.”

“She was named as the best actress of the year.”

Indicates a time period

“He has brought to India as a baby, and he spent the rest of his life there.”

“As a child, he often imagined that he was living in an ancient kingdom.”

difference between as and like

He is as cute as a button.

Like – Meaning and Usage

The word ‘Like’ can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition or a conjunction.

‘Like’ as a Preposition

Used in comparison

“We were like brothers.”

“He behaved like a fool.”

“He did not want to be treated like a child.”

Used to describe the nature of an action

“Why are you behaving like this?”

“I’m sorry for you disturbing you like this.”

Used to introduce examples

“I studied authors like Shakespeare and Milton.”

“He watched many TV cartoons like Scooby Doo, Garfield….”

‘Like’ as a Conjunction

Implies the meaning of ‘as if’

“I feel like I’m the worst person on Earth.”

“It’s not like you are going to help me , right?”

‘Like’ as a Noun

Used to refer to a person or thing of the same kind as another:

“We know him, him and his like.”

“Did you ever hear the like?”

‘Like’ as an Adjective

Indicates having similar qualities or characteristics to another person or thing:

“We were of like manner.”

main difference - as vs like

They are like sisters.

Difference Between Like and As

Both Like and As are used in comparisons. However, the way that they are used in comparison is different. Always remember that there should be no verb in the phrase right after ‘like’. For example, look at the two examples below.

He is acting like a fool. → like + noun

Nobody dances like she does.→ as + noun + verb

In some instances, the two words can be replaced by each other. This is commonly seen in informal American English.

We play cricket like champions do = We play cricket as champions do.

However, keep in mind that there can be a difference between the meaning of these two words. For example, consider the sentence, ” As your teacher, I must warn you to be more careful.” This statement implies that I’m warning you because I’m your teacher. But if you replace ‘as’ with ‘like’ here, the meaning would change. “Like your teacher, I must warn you to be more careful.” implies that I’m warning you because I’m just like your teacher. So we should be very careful in choosing the right word to use.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.