“Like” Versus “As” on GMAT

Through this short video, understand the correct usage of "like" as well as "as" for the GMAT sentence correction questions. Within two minutes, you would understand the "like" versus "as" concept.

"Like" Versus "As" on GMAT

"Like" and "as" are both words used to make comparisons; however, there is a subtle difference between then that means that they are not interchangeable. In this article, we will cover the difference between "like" and "as" and exactly where each should be used, respectively; understanding the distinction between "like" and "as" can be difficult, as they are commonly used interchangeably in colloquial speech, but you will have to do so because this concept is fairly common in GMAT sentence correction.

The primary difference between "like" and "as" is that "like" is used when nouns are compared and "as" is used when processes or clauses are compared. Let us illustrate this concept through a few examples.

Example 1 - Jack's height, as that of his father, is exactly 190 centimeters.
As you can see, in this sentence, the heights of Jack and his father are being compared; this means that the sentence is comparing two nouns. Thus, the use of "as" is inappropriate, and this sentence is incorrect. In Example 1, the word "like" should be used to compare Jack's height to that of his father; the correct form of the sentence is as follows:

Jack's height, like that of his father, is exactly 190 centimeters.

Now let us take a look at the inverse situation, through another example:

Example 2 - Playing squash, just like playing soccer, is a great way for staying fit.
This sentence compares the act of playing squash is being compared to the act of playing soccer, meaning that it compares two processes; this, in turn, means that "like" is not the correct usage in this sentence, the word "as" is. Hence, the correct form of this sentence would be:

Playing squash, just as playing soccer, is a great way for staying fit.

For further clarity, let us also take a look at a somewhat different example:

Example 3 - Playing squash, just like soccer, is a great way for staying fit.
This example is actually a trap; this sentence compares the action of playing squash to the noun soccer, making the comparison itself fundamentally incorrect. In this case, whether you use "like" or "as" does not matter; the only way this sentence can be correct is if it is changed to compare playing squash with playing soccer, or squash to soccer.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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