UNIT 115. Like / as if / as though

Canada-17 grammar


You can use like to say how somebody or something looks/sounds/feels:
– That house looks like it’s gong to fall down.
– Helen sounded like she had a cold, didn’t she?
– I’ve just come back from vacation, but I feel very fired. I don’t feel like I just had a vacation.

We also use as if and as though in all these examples:
– That house looks as if it’s going to fall down.
– I don’t feel as though I just had a vacation.

Like is more common in spoken English.

– You look tired. (look + adjective)
– You look { like / as if } you didn’t sleep last night.
(look like / as if + subject + verb)


You can say: It looks like … / It sounds like …
– Sandra is very late, isn’t she? It looks like she isn’t coming.
– We took an umbrella because it looked like it was going to rain.
– Do you hear that music next door? It sounds like they’re having a party.

You can also use as if or as though:
– It looks as if she isn’t coming.
– It looks as though she isn’t coming.


You can use like / as if / as though with other verbs to say how somebody does something:
– He ran like he was running for his life.
– After the interruption, the speaker went on talking as if nothing had happened.
– When I told them my plan, they looked at me as thought I was crazy.


After af if, we sometimes use the past when we are talking about the present. For example:
– I don’t like Tim. He talks as if he knew everything.

The meaning is not past in this sentence. We use the past (as if he knew) because the idea is not real:
Tim does not know everything. We use the past in the same way in if sentences and after wish (see Unit 37).

Some more examples:
– She’s always asking me to do things for her – as if I didn’t have enough to do already. (I do have enough to do)
– Gary’s only 40. Why do you talk about him as if he was an old man?
(he isn’t an old man)

When you use the past in this way, you can use were instead of was:
– Why do you talk about him as if he were (or was) an old man?
– They treat me as if I were (or was) their own son. (I’m not their son)