As You Like It
Posted by languageandgrammar on June 12, 2008
If you thought that I was going to talk about Shakespeare, then prepare to be disappointed. I’m going to talk about the use of like versus the use of as. It’s not nearly as stimulating, but it’s still necessary.
The like/as grammar error in English is so often repeated that I doubt most people even know that it’s a grammar error. Interpretation: I might be fighting a losing battle, but I’ll make my stand anyway.
Choose the correct sentence:
a. SpongeBob loves his spatula like he loves his friends.
b. SpongeBob loves his spatula as he loves his friends.
I hope that you chose (b).
When introducing an independent clause, use as. (An independent clause is a group of words with both a subject and a predicate, and it can stand alone—I’ll talk more about the different types of clauses in another post.) When introducing nouns or noun clauses or phrases, use like.
In the above sentence, he loves his friends is a clause: the subject is he and the predicate (the simple verb with all of its accoutrements) is loves his friends. (The simple verb is just loves.)
SpongeBob feels like a soggy, squishy sponge. Here, we use like because we’re just introducing the noun phrase soggy, squishy sponge.
By the way, SpongeBob really does love his spatula as he loves his friends.
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