like a piano

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Senior Member
Can one say
a. He punched Jeff in the face like a punching bag.

(meaning: ... as if Jeff was a punching bag)

b. He was shooting arrows at my door like a target.

(meaning: ... as if it was a target)

c. He kept tapping his fingers on his desk like a piano.

(meaning: ... as if it was a piano)

d. He kept giving me orders like his servant.

(meaning:... as if I was his servant)

The sentences are mine.

As far as I can see the basic structure is the same.

My feeling is that in (d) one cannot even tell if he really has a servant or not.

I'd say they work, but I prefer the 'as if' versions!

Many thanks.
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Can one say
    No. The problem in all those sentences is that the "like..." phrase actually modifies the subject ("he"), not the noun that is closes to it. That's why you can't omit the "it was" part, because it is necessary to change the subject to which the final descriptor applies.
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