The Use and Abuse of “Like”

“Like” is probably the most abused word in the English language. We use and abuse it so much that most people seem to have forgotten what it was originally intended for.

What do you think of this sentence?

He towered over him like he was a real-life giant.

Sounds like a proper sentence to you? Eep! Wrong! That sentence is plain wrong. The “like” used in that sentence should in fact be “as if”.

He towered over him as if he was a real-life giant.

And what about the next sentence?

It’s not like I had a choice.

That sentence has been used so often that most people will probably consider it an okay sentence. WRONG. The “like” here should be replaced by “as though”.

It’s not as though I had a choice.

Do you want a simple rule? “Like” governs nouns and pronouns. When you’re talking about verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. use “as”, “as if”, or “as though”.

If you have more questions about the proper or improper use of “like”, leave me a comment, and I’ll reply as soon as possible.


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