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Are 'Like' And 'As If' Interchangeable? (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
This is related to Word to a certain extent but I've also noticed it in novels. I'd always assumed it was done in novels just to remove repetitions, but perhaps it's not. It seems there are rules I'm not aware of that decide whether 'like' or 'as if' should be used. But for ease of understanding, I'll use Word again as the example. Sometimes it flags 'like' as incorrect and offers the alternative 'as if', but other times it allows 'like' to stand. So, why would that be?
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
You look like a nun.
You look as if you are a nun.


I was thinking about this yesterday. To me, "like" means "similar" but suggests a difference.

There are also differences in voice, with "as if" sounding more formal and thoughtful. I wouldn't have a 5-year old say "as if".

And the sentence has to adjust to which you are using.

And there will be times they come to the same thing, but I usually care.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
You look like a nun.
You look as if you are a nun.


I was thinking about this yesterday. To me, "like" means "similar" but suggests a difference.

There are also differences in voice, with "as if" sounding more formal and thoughtful. I wouldn't have a 5-year old say "as if".

And the sentence has to adjust to which you are using.

And there will be times they come to the same thing, but I usually care.
That's one of the reasons I asked. Apart from Word occasionally throw in it up as a mistake, I've also noticed many authors vary it. But, I've also noticed it's not always because of repetition. One I listened to recently had 4 'likes' on the trot and then threw in an 'as if', so I don't think they're completely interchangeable. As you said, 'like' is clearly stating 'the same as' where as 'as if' is not quite as clearly stating 'the same as'. It's saying 'you could so easily confuse the two'.
 
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