as/like we did

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by milkyway74, Feb 20, 2007.

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  1. milkyway74 New Member

    Italy Italian
    Ciao a tutti,

    mi sono imbattuto nella seguente frase "we will pick it up at the factory warehouse like we did last time". Ero convinto si dovesse utilizzare as ma cercando su google mi sono accorto che vengono utilizzati entrambi molto spesso.

    A questo punto non so cosa pensare...voi che cosa ne dite?

    Grazie e ciao.
  2. Siberia

    Siberia Senior Member

    UK-Wales - English
    In the case of similarity to each other both AS and LIKE can be used but it depends on the grammar of the sentence.
    Like = preposition + noun or pronoun
    As = conjunction + clause with subject and verb
    As -also before prepositional expression = as in 2005 ( in informal speech LIKE can also be used in this context)
    As can be followed by word order of a question - She was American as were most of the people there.
    As can also mean "as you know/suggested" not a comparison but identifying - You know this.
    Like is often used in informal speech more and more nowadays.
    Hope it helps
  3. milkyway74 New Member

    Italy Italian
    Grazie mille Siberia.
  4. franca157 Member

    New York City, English
    as we did / yes
    like we did / no

    They talked as we did / yes
    They talked like strangers / yes
  5. M_07 Senior Member


    E' corretto usare "like" per dire:

    e come dicono loro, oppure, e come dice mia madre...

    like my mother says or as my mother says..?

  6. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Se c'è un verbo "dopo" non puo essere "like".

    e.g. She prefers cherries like her mother.
    She acts as her mother tells her to.
  7. M_07 Senior Member

    Grazie Zsanna.

    Siberia, potevi scrivere in italiano.:D
  8. franca157 Member

    New York City, English
    "as" is correct. It connects one thing to another (to do as my mother says).

    "like" implies similarity of the one thing to the other. (she looks like her mother).

    I hope this helps.
  9. M_07 Senior Member

    Yes, it helps.:)

    Thank you.
  10. franca157 Member

    New York City, English
    She prefers cherries like her mother (no)

    "She prefers cherries like her mother does." is ok.
    But "She prefers cherries as does her mother." is better

    She acts as her mother tells her to. (yes)

    If this is of any help, good.
  11. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Thanks for the correction, franca!
    It is dangerous to generalize with bad examples.

    Maybe my point is valid only when the main verb is "to be" before "like"?

    He is like his father. (Tall and thin.)
  12. franca157 Member

    New York City, English

    I have not come across any firm rule for making the distinction between as and like. but a very respected source (The Elements of Style by Strunke and White) has this to say:

    Like is not to be used for the conjunction as. Like governs nouns and pronouns. Before phrases and clauses, the equivalent word is as.

    I hope, Zsanna, this may be helpful.

    Zsanna, perhaps an additional word might make it a little clearer.

    In your last example, like means "similar to". When "to be" is used before "like", there is no need for a decision.

    Maybe, maybe, this helps.
  13. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Thank you, franca, for all these explanations.

    The trouble is that a language learner would find it more difficult to decide when and how as is used as a conjunction than to remember a simple rule like "as with verbs, like without". (Even if it is really just to remember as a simple guideline without believing in its 100% accuracy or applicability in all situations - if you (I mean: one)want that sort of thing, you have to sit down and learn the whole thing properly with all its ins and outs.)

    I have to add that a BE speaker approved my "She prefers cherries like her mother." And advised strongly against the same with "does" at the end.

    I have been learning English for about 34 years now and I can see why I'm far from being able to say anything for sure connected to it... :))
    However, as an English teacher I've worked out some "usable tricks" which can be useful for learners even if they may sound weird at times to native speakers...
  14. Re Rosso Member

    Ireland, English
    "She prefers cherries as her mother does" is strictly correct but very formal and old-fashioned.
    "She prefers cherries as her mother" is meaningless.*
    "She prefers cherries like her mother" is acceptable but risk implying that her mother has a face like a cherry!
    Safest way to say it is "Like her mother, she prefers cherries" (or formally, "As her mother does, she prefers cherries").

    * But compare "He prefers Lamborghini as his car manufacturer", which does make sense but doesn't translate come, I think!
  15. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Welcome/Benvenuto on the forum, Re Rosso!

    And thank you for your contribution!

    However, you intrigued me with the last sentence (the ad). (Beginners, stop reading now!:)) If it is not in the sense of come then what is the point in it?
  16. Re Rosso Member

    Ireland, English
    Yes, not one for beginners, this is a rare usage.

    Perhaps another example might help:
    "he chose Ronaldo as captain of the Brazil team"

    It conveys the sense of selection for a role.

    Vorrei sapere come si dice questo frase in italiano?

  17. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Hi franca157,

    While this may be a good "rule" to stick to in writing, I'm not so sure I would say it's universal, especially not in spoken, colloquial English these days. With the overuse of a word like "like," there's no wonder why it's starting to a replace the increasingly more awkward/formal-sounding "as." In other words, while "as" cannot always replace "like," "like" seems to be replacing "as" in many cases where this rule would strictly say "no." For example, I have no problem saying (writing may be different):

    Do like your mother says.
    I did just like you said (to do)!
    We'll do like we did last time. :tick:

    I wouldn't advise a non-native against using "like" in such sentences in spoken English. It sounds more colloquial with "like."

    Ha scelto Ronaldo come capitano della squadra di Brasile.

    You can use "come" here.
  18. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    Very colloquial. OK at home, but not in a business meeting or at a job interview. ;)

  19. franca157 Member

    New York City, English

    If correct usage of language matters to one to express what is meant, one automatically strives to learn and use it.

    If not and if it doesn't matter, so be it.
  20. Re Rosso Member

    Ireland, English
    I would never use 'like' in those phrases, but always 'as'. I would only expect someone uneducated to use 'like'.
  21. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    We'll do like we did last time.

    This informal use of like instead of as is increasing in BE too, but is more firmly rooted in AE. I'd say it wasn't common in Britain 30 years ago (when I lived there!) but was already normal in AE. I think this explains why there are differences of opinion about levels of formality and acceptability.

    I've always taught:
    1) For a conjunction, always as: as I do, like me
    2) Without a verb, a good illustration could be:
    He's a good imitator, he speaks like the president.
    George Bush spoke to the nation as the president.
  22. franca157 Member

    New York City, English
    That is the real point to this discussion.

    The more one learns about a language, the better he/she is able to express his/her thoughts and feelings and be better understood.
  23. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    I'm afraid it's not.

    The fact that both "as" and "like" are used interchangeably these days in colloquial/spoken English by certain peoples, as Google can probably attest (though I've not done the search myself), as I myself have already attested, and as Einstein has just recently mentioned concerning BE, suggests that you don't always have to use "as."

    The "real point" is in what contexts you may or may not use or hear "like" in place of "as." In my company, I certainly would use it and would not think twice if I heard a native speaker use it. And for the record, I am educated :), but I also come from the south. So perhaps it is a regional variance.

    Elisabetta has also mentioned that non-standard usages of "like" should be avoided in formal settings, such as interviews. This is a good point. She also said "very colloquial" but did not say "wrong." And Re Rosso has mentioned the judgment he would make about someone who used "like." These are all very important points for the non-native to keep in mind.

    But my point is this: the question milkyway74 raised is whether or not one has to use "as." I think we've shown that in many scenarios, one should, but in some cases/scenarios/contexts one has a bit more liberty. It's also important for non-native speakers to learn when, why, and how native speakers will use non-standard English so as to be able to comprehend what is being said, no matter how "wrong" it might be in their grammar books.
  24. franca157 Member

    New York City, English
    In reference to the distinctions of as/like, to dismiss their correct usage as either "colloquial" or "informal", rather than carelessness of speech, is itself a careless acceptance of its incorrect usage.
  25. Re Rosso Member

    Ireland, English
    Perhaps 'like' is more usual in the USA - cf "Let's twist again like we did last summer". ♪♫
  26. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Yes, nice example! :thumbsup: To use "as" here sounds a bit stilted to my ears (even outside of the context of a pop song).
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