Understanding Grammar: As v Like
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich talk about two words that are often very confusing: 'as' and 'like'. These two words can sometimes be used in the same way but at other times have very different meanings. Rich and Jack talk about football and travelling and use lots of phrases with 'as' and 'like' to help you with understanding. Your task this week is to complete five sentences with 'as' and 'like' so they are true for you. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess. Remember we have lots of activities for you to check your understanding further down the page. Enjoy!
Understanding Grammar - As vs Like
Rich: No, no. Raheem Sterling has got to be in the team. He’s just as fast as Rashford and he scores more goals.
Jack: OK, he’s fast. I’ll give you that, but Rashford always looks like he will score when he gets the ball.
Rich: I’m not sure about that, but it’s his job as a footballer or should I say as a striker to score goals. Sterling normally plays more as a winger; running down the sides of the pitch.
Jack: Maybe. But I think both of them can be used as wingers and strikers.
Rich: Like I was saying before, maybe it’s better to have both of them in our team.
Jack: Good idea. Right, as you know, United’s defence hasn’t been that good lately so why don’t we change David De Gea?
Rich: But he’s the best keeper in the Premier League.
Jack: There are loads better.
Rich: Like who? Such as who?
Jack: Such as Ederson at City or Allison at Liverpool.
Rich: Maybe. It’s taking ages to pick this team.
Jack: If you just did as I said it’d be easier.
Rich: That’s not very likely is it.
Welcome - As v Like
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you could leave your answers in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you. What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to help you with some grammar. We’re going to talk about two words that English learners often confuse.
Jack: The two words are ‘as’ and ‘like’.
Rich: I like that idea.
Jack: It’s not that easy. Like is not only a verb we use to say something is nice; it can be used in many ways and is often a preposition and sometimes informally a conjunction.
Rich: It can be a bit confusing so we’re going to do roleplay that includes different uses and meanings of these two words.
Jack: In the roleplay, I’m playing the role of someone who has travelled a lot while Rich is someone who has travelled much less.
Rich: While you listen, we want you to answer these questions: Question one - What would I like to work as? Question two - What does Jack think is the biggest benefit of travelling?
Jack: (Talking Indonesian on the phone) Bye.
Rich: What was that? It sounded like Arabic.
Jack: It doesn’t sound anything like Arabic. It was Indonesian.
Rich: Of course, you lived in Indonesia working as an English teacher. I’d love to live in a hot country like Indonesia.
Jack: Really? You go as red as a lobster when the temperature hits twenty degrees!
Rich: I never look like a lobster and anyway I didn’t say that my skin would like it but I would like it. Yeah, somewhere like Indonesia or Vietnam or maybe somewhere in South America such as Colombia or Ecuador.
Jack: I think it’s really good to get out and see the world if you can.
Rich: Yeah, I wish I had done something like that. Done as you did and seen lots of different places and countries.
Jack: Like I was saying, it was great and I think it does help you see things in different ways. What did you do when you left school?
Rich: I just stayed here like most other people I knew. I finished school just like the rest of my friends and got a job, just like my mum and dad did and their parents.
Jack: I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as you’re making out.
Rich: No, of course, it wasn’t. But, as I said, I wish I had travelled more.
Jack: You could do it now.
Rich: Yes, I’ve been looking into it. I could work as a waiter in Colombia or as an English teacher in Indonesia like you did.
Jack: The world is your oyster!
Jack: In the roleplays, we used the words ‘like’ and ‘as’ a lot. As we said at the beginning of the podcast, these two words are often confusing. It can be difficult to know when to use ‘as’ and when to use ‘like’.
Jack: Let’s start by looking at ‘like + a noun’. Listen to these sentences:
Rich: She swims like a fish. He eats like a horse. He plays football like a donkey.
Jack: In all these sentences ‘like’ means ‘similar to’ or ‘in a similar way’. The first means that she swims very well. The second means he eats a lot. The third means he plays football badly.
Rich: But, it doesn’t mean that the people are fish, horses and donkeys! We are saying they are similar to them.
Jack: We could say that a player is playing like Pele or Cristiano Ronaldo, this would mean they are playing in a similar way to them - really well.
Rich: Another example could be: ‘he supports Liverpool like me’. Here, ‘like’ means ‘in the same way’. We are both Liverpool supporters. Like me, he is a Liverpool fan.
Jack: Like most football fans, I love it when there are lots of goals’. ‘like’ means ‘in the same way’.
Jack: We often use ‘look like’ to talk about appearance.
Rich: You can say: ‘You look just like your dad’ or ‘he looks just like that player for Manchester United. Go and ask for his autograph.’
Jack: Here the work like still means ‘similar to’. You look similar to your dad; you look like your dad.
Rich: It’s also very common to use just plus like for extra emphasis. I said ‘ he looks just like that player for Manchester United.’
Rich: When we are speaking in an informal way we also give examples using like rather than such as. In the roleplay, I said ‘I’d love to live in a hot country like Indonesia’.
Jack: Another example could be: ‘I like team sports like football, rugby and cricket’.
Rich: You may often find that people use both ‘like’ and ‘such as’ at the same time. If you listen carefully to the roleplay you can hear me using ‘like’ and ‘such as’ to give examples.
Jack: So, there are a few times when we usually use ‘like’. In the next section, we’re going to look at how we use ‘as’.
Rich: Let’s start by looking at ‘as + a noun’.
Jack: ‘As + a noun’ means ‘in the role of’ and we often use this structure to describe jobs.
Rich: Let’s look at an easy example. In the roleplay, Jack said he worked as an English teacher. This means he was an English teacher. He worked in the role of an English teacher.
Jack: He works as a waiter in a hotel. This means that the person is a waiter in a hotel. I work as an English teacher for the British Council.
Jack: Let’s move on. We usually use ‘as’ to talk about how something is used or its purpose.
Rich: At the beginning of the podcast, I said that Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford can be used as wingers and strikers.
Jack: Here we are talking about how these players are used on the pitch.
Rich: Another example could be: Smartphones can be used as a camera, as a computer and as a phone.
Jack Smartphones have lots of uses these days.
Jack: In the roleplay, Rich said that he never looks like a lobster. A lobster is a sea creature that has a hard shell and two big claws. When it is cooked it goes bright red in colour.
Rich: I never look like a lobster.
Jack: OK, Rich is not a lobster we know that. However, when the sun shines he burns his skin and I said that he looks like a lobster. I mean that his skin looks similar in colour to a lobster - bright red.
Rich: We’ve looked at this already. We can use like to say something is similar to something else.
Jack: But, we can also use as. When we use the structure as + adjective or adverb + as we are comparing two things that are equal in some way.
Rich: Let’s go back to that lobster. In the roleplay, Jack said I go ‘as red as a lobster’.
Jack: Here I am using as + adjective + as to say that Rich has the same skin colour as a lobster.
Rich: Another example could be: Liverpool are as good as Arsenal. In fact, I think they are much better
Jack: Here Rich is saying that Liverpool and Arsenal are both good at football. He then says they are better.
Rich: I could also say Arsenal aren’t as good as Liverpool.
Jack: Finally, let’s look at some common expressions that use ‘like’ and ‘as’.
Rich: In some sentences, we can use ‘as’ or ‘like’. The meaning doesn’t change, but ‘as’ is more formal.
Jack: You can use as and like to refer to something you said before.
Rich: You can say: As I predicted, the match finished in a draw or Like I predicted, the match finished in a draw.
Jack: Another common phrase to return to a previous topic is ‘like I was saying’.
Rich: We can also say ‘as I was saying’ with no change in meaning.
Jack: Other expressions that you often hear that can be used with either ‘as’ or ‘like’ are: Like we agreed / as we agreed and as you know / like you know.
Rich: You could say something like: ‘We’ll look at this again on Thursday as we agreed last week’ or like we agreed last week.
Jack: You may hear something like: As you know, the company has been having some financial difficulties or like you already know, the timetable will be changing from next week …
Rich: These situations may be formal so it is more common to use ‘as’.
Jack: Two final formal expressions to finish with, where we have to use ‘as’ are used a lot to talk about established facts or ideas. These are ‘regarded as’ or ‘accepted as’.
Rich: You could say that Lionel Messi is regarded as the best footballer in the world or commonly accepted as the best footballer in the world.
Jack: We’ve got more activities on the Premier Skills English website to help you understand when to use ‘as’, when to use ‘like’ or when both are possible.
Rich: This week's task is a simple one. We are going to give you five sentences to complete.
Jack: All of the sentences use either ‘like’ or ‘as’. We’d like you to complete each sentence and explain your reasons a little. Here are your five sentences:
Rich: Sentence one: In the future, I’d like to work as …
Jack: Sentence two: I like sports such as ...
Rich: Sentence three: Some people have told me that I look like …
Jack: Sentence four: My best position on the football pitch is as …
Rich: Sentence five: Like most football fans, I ...
Jack: Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, our last football phrase. The phrase was a cliche and it was there are no easy games. It’s what managers always say before they play a really small team that isn’t very good.
Rich: A big well done to Thaitn from Vietnam who was the only listener to get the football phrase last week. What’s this week’s phrase?
Jack: This week’s football phrase is **** ** ***. This phrase has three football meanings. It can mean to put the ball out of play. It can be a phrasal verb to remove a team from a competition because they have broken the rules. And it is the name of an organisation in the UK that campaigns against racism in football.
Rich: Three meanings. That should help everyone get the answer. Right, that’s all we have time for this week. Don’t forget to write your answers to the task and football phrase in the comments section below.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
OK, he’s fast. I’ll give you that, but Rashford always looks like he will score when he gets the ball.
It’s taking ages to pick this team.
You go as red as a lobster when the temperature hits twenty degrees!
I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as you’re making out.
There were a few more tricky words and phrases in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words. This can really help your understanding.
As and Like
In this podcast, the language focus was on two words: 'as' and 'like'. First, we looked at 'like' and when we are more likely to use this word, then we looked at 'as' and gave a few examples of when it is more common to use this word. Finally, we gave you some expressions that are often used with both 'like' and 'as'.
In the podcast, we gave a few examples where we are more likely to use 'like' instead of 'as':
1. To mean similar to or in the same way:
He supports Liverpool like me.
He plays football like a donkey!
Like most football fans, I love it when there are lots of goals’.
2. To talk about appearance:
You look just like your dad.
He looks just like that player for Manchester United. Go and ask for his autograph!
3. Giving examples in informal situations:
I'd love to live in a hot country like Indonesia.
I prefer team sports like football, rugby and cricket.
In the podcast, we gave some examples where we usually use 'as' instead of 'like':
1. As + noun to describe jobs:
It’s his job as a footballer or should I say as a striker to score goals.
I could work as a waiter in Colombia or as an English teacher in Indonesia like you did.
2. To talk about how something (or someone) is used:
Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are either used as wingers or as strikers.
Smartphones can be used as a camera, as a computer and as a phone.
3. Using as + adjective + as to compare two things that are equal in some way:
Liverpool are as good as Arsenal. In fact, I think they are much better.
You go as red as a lobster when the temperature hits twenty degrees!
4. More formal expressions
There are also some expressions where we use 'as' that are more formal and are used to talk about established facts or ideas.
The Premier League is generally recognised as the most popular football league in the world.
Lionel Messi is commonly regarded as the best player in the world.
There are some expressions where you can use either 'as' or 'like' with little change in meaning, although when you use 'as' it is always a little more formal
Mentioning something you had spoken about before:
As I predicted, the match finished in a draw.
Like I predicted, the match finished before.
As I suggested earlier, we should try going to that new restaurant in town.
Like I suggested earlier, we should try going to that new restaurant in town.
Returning to a previous topic:
As I was saying, ...
Like I was saying, ...
We'll look at this again next Thursday as we agreed.
As you know, the company has been having a few financial difficulties.
Your task this week is to complete five sentences. All of the sentences use either ‘like’ or ‘as’. We’d like you to complete each sentence and explain your reasons a little. Here are your five sentences:
In the future, I’d like to work as …
I like sports such as ...
Some people have told me that I look like …
My best position on the football pitch is as …
Like most football fans, I ...
Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page and don't forget to make a guess at our football phrase.