Like = ‘similar to’, ‘the same as’.
- What a beautiful house! It’s like a palace, (not as a palace)
- ‘What does Sandra do?’ ‘She’s a teacher, like me.’ (not as me)
- Be careful! The floor has been polished. It’s like walking on ice. (not as walking)
- It’s raining again. I hate weather like this, (not as this)
In these sentences, like is a preposition.
So it is followed by a noun (like a palace), a pronoun (like me / like this) or -ing (like walking).
You can also say ‘… like (somebody/something) doing something’:
- ‘What’s that noise? ‘It sounds like a baby crying.”
Sometimes like = for example:
- Some sports, like motor-racing, can be dangerous.
You can also use such as (= for example):
- Some sports, such as motor-racing, can be dangerous.
As = in the same way as, or in the same condition as.
We use as before subject + verb:
- I didn’t move anything. I left everything as it was.
- You should have done it as I showed you.
Like is also possible in informal spoken English:
- I left everything like it was.
Compare as and like:
- You should have done it as I showed you. (or like I showed you)
- You should have done it like this, (not as this)
Note that we say as usual / as always:
- You’re late as usual.
- As always, Nick was the first to complain.
Sometimes as (+ subject + verb) has other meanings.
For example, after do:
- You can do as you like. (= do what you like)
- They did as they promised. (= They did what they promised.)
We also say as you know / as I said / as she expected / as I thought etc. :
- As you know, it’s Emma’s birthday next week. (= you know this already)
- Andy failed his driving test, as he expected. (= he expected this before)
Like is not usual in these expressions, except with say (like I said):
- □As I said yesterday, I’m sure we can solve the problem, or Like I said yesterday …
As can also be a preposition, but the meaning is different from like.
- Sue Casey is the manager of a company.
As the manager, she has to make many important decisions.
(As the manager = in her position as the manager)
- Mary Stone is the assistant manager.
Like the manager (Sue Casey), she also has to make important decisions.
(Like the manager = similar to the manager.)
As (preposition) = in the position of, in the form of etc. :
- A few years ago I worked as a taxi driver, (not like a taxi driver)
- We haven’t got a car, so we use the garage as a workshop.
- Many words, for example ‘work’ and ‘rain’, can be used as verbs or nouns.
- London is fine as a place to visit, but I wouldn’t like to live there.
- The news of the tragedy came as a great shock.