Dress as / Dress like

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Dan1010

New Member
Czech
Hello!

I would need to know what is difference between "dress as" and "dress like"

Today, during lesson of history, i heard a sentence "During the boston tea party, Some men dressed like native Americans and..."

I would like to ask you if it is correct and if it is possible to use a phrase "dress as" (not only in this sentece, anywhere)

Thank you for your time!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think "as" is actually more correct in this context. If I wanted to dress like Ariana Grande, I would adopt her style, wear similar shoes, and so on. If, however, I wanted to dress as her, I would be impersonating her, trying to look as much like her as possible.

    (My being a rather large male would probably make dressing either as her or like her a bad idea for me, but my point stands. :D)

    Edit: In spoken English, many American speakers do not make this distinction.
     
    I think "as" is actually more correct in this context. If I wanted to dress like Ariana Grande, I would adopt her style, wear similar shoes, and so on. If, however, I wanted to dress as her, I would be impersonating her, trying to look as much like her as possible.:thumbsup:

    (My being a rather large male would probably make dressing either as her or like her a bad idea for me, but my point stands. :D)

    Edit: In spoken English, many American speakers do not make this distinction.
    :tick:

    I agree.

    A more precise statement would have been "disguised themselves as/dressed up as"
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    My turn to agree. :thumbsup:
    But not mine. In BE I would expect "dressed as native Americans" (1773? No, "dressed as Indians"). "Dressing up" is more appropriate for preparing for a fancy dress party than dressing for insurrection, and as a disguise it was pretty ineffective. The authorities knew perfectly well that it was colonists, not natives, who wasted all that tea.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    But not mine. In BE I would expect "dressed as native Americans" (1773? No, "dressed as Indians"). "Dressing up" is more appropriate for preparing for a fancy dress party than dressing for insurrection, and as a disguise it was pretty ineffective. The authorities knew perfectly well that it was colonists, not natives, who wasted all that tea.
    First, this: "dressed as native Americans" (1773? No, "dressed as Indians"). I agree. ;)

    But this: "Dressing up" is more appropriate for preparing for a fancy dress party than dressing for insurrection I believe that is the point. If I understand you, what you call a "fancy dress party" is what we would call a "costume party" where the guests all wear costumes. The men who threw the tea into the harbor didn't expect anyone to really believe they were Indians (to use the term in use at the time) - they just wanted to be a bit harder to recognize and identify. But this is exactly where the phrase "dressing up as" comes into use, isn't it? They put on Indian garb, I'm guessing "war paint," as a costume.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree that they were in costume, but for me the concept of "dressing up" applies to social events. The Boston Tea Party was a serious affair and potentially dangerous for the participants. I couldn't use "dress up" in that context.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I agree that they were in costume, but for me the concept of "dressing up" applies to social events. The Boston Tea Party was a serious affair and potentially dangerous for the participants. I couldn't use "dress up" in that context.
    I see your point, but I think this is a BE/AE difference. To me, "dressing up" means putting on nicer than usual clothing. But "dressing up as" something means wearing a costume.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    No p
    This may be an AE/BE difference. If a child costumed for Halloween knocked on my door and I couldn't determine what their garb was supposed to indicate, I might ask them "What are you dressed up as?"
    That seems fine to me. The child's having fun, not going down to the harbour to steal and destroy.
     
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