What is the Difference Between "As" and "Like"?

To show or say that two things are similar in some way, we either use like or as. However, note that like is a preposition - it is used before nouns and pronouns; as is a conjunction - it is used before a clause or an expression that begins with a preposition. 

like + noun/pronoun 

  • He ran like lightning. (not as lightning.)
  • Patty frequently chews and eats ice cubes like me. (not as me)
  • My days are swifter than a runner; they are like eagles swooping down on their prey.
  • Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night.

as + clause and as + prepositional phrase

  • As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return.
  • On Thursday, as on Saturday, the meeting will be at 3:30.
  • As water wears away stones and torrents wash away soil, so you destroy a person's hope.

It is worth noting that in modern usage, like is often used as a conjunction instead of as. Using like before a clause, however, is common in informal contexts.

  • Like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone when the morning comes. (or As a bat out of hell..)
  • Nobody knows you like I do. (or as I do)
Designed by Neil Yamit