Saturday, March 8, 2008

35. LIKE, AS, and AS IF : Are they alike?

Hey! Today's lesson reviews problems we seem to have quite frequently with LIKE, AS and AS IF. Have you ever wondered whether to use LIKE or AS in a sentence such as the following?

Marti thinks (LIKE, AS) I do about iced tea - we both prefer a little tea with our sugar...

or...whether to use LIKE or AS IF in a sentence such as this one?

Jeff acts ( LIKE, AS IF) he knows everything there is to know about all 5,000 snakes in North Carolina.

If you chose LIKE in the first sentence, join the crowd of many folks who mistakenly use the wrong verb...

and... if you also chose LIKE in the second sentence, you're there again.

Here's why:

Standard English requires us to use LIKE (and its forms) only as a VERB, such as the one seen in the following sentence:

Kelly and Anthony LIKE to attend all of Brennan and Brady's ballgames...

Or as a PREPOSITION such as the one seen in the next sentence:

Robert drives LIKE a maniac.

That's pretty simple, huh? Just remember that LIKE should be used only as a VERB or a PREPOSITION.

NOW, what about AS or AS IF?

AS and AS IF are SUBORDINATE CONJUNCTIONS when they introduce clauses in a sentence. As we've studied before, a clause is a group of words with its own subject and verb and sentences can contain more than one clause.
In the first example sentence above...

"Marti thinks..." is one clause...

" I do about iced tea..." is another clause...and...

"...we both prefer and little tea with our sugar" a third clause--all in the same sentence.

Our main concern, however, is the second clause that indicates new subjects and verbs are being used in the sentence - not "Marti thinks...". and...

that new clause is "...I do about iced tea..." Since this is also a separate clause, a subordinate conjunction must appear at its beginning - hence, AS is correct, not LIKE. Remember that LIKE is considered just a VERB or PREPOSITION and since you just learned that AS is a subordinate conjunction when it precedes a clause, you know that AS is the correct answer.Well, all right!

Okay. So let's take a look at the second example sentence:

"Jeff acts..." is the first clause...

"...AS IF he knows everything North Carolina" is the second clause.

So how do you prove that AS IF is correct? You should have no problem recognizing that AS IF precedes a clause. It's just that simple! .

Now it's time to give you a chance to show how much you know. Choose the correct answer in the following sentences:

(1) (Like, As) all children, Davy wanted a bike.

(2) Homer and Tony believe just (like, as) their daddy does about the dinner bell always being in tune.

(3) Junior looks (like, as) the hindquarters of bad luck.

(4) That man looks (like, as if) he's been hit in the face with a wet squirrel.

(5) Sally felt (like, as) her boyfriend did about deer season needing to be a national holiday.

Wasn't this easy? Here are the answers:

(1) LIKE is correct since there's no clause following it. LIKE is also used as a preposition.

(2) AS is correct since there IS a clause following it.

(3) LIKE is correct since no clause follows it. LIKE is also used as a preposition.

(4) AS IF is correct since there IS a clause following it.

(5) AS is correct since there IS a clause following it.

My hope is that you all made 100 on this little quiz and will never again make these mistakes! Celebrate!

Well, it's about time to close up shop and rest a spell. Y'all have a wonderful week and be as happy as you can as often as you can. Peace and happiness to all, GG


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