Grammar. 21.02.2013
Grammar Teacher

Английская грамматика: Uses of Like

Автор: Grammar Teacher

Hello, guys! Today I’m going to tell you about one of the most interesting words in the English language: the word LIKE.

Do you know how we can use LIKE? What part of speech is it? What functions can it have?

Let’s begin with a quote that I really like:

“If  you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” (Maya Angelou)

Do you agree with Maya?


So, in this quote, what is the meaning of LIKE? Can you replace it with another word?
Yes, you can. We can say “if you don’t love,” or “If you don’t enjoy”, or “if you’re not fond of”, or “if you’re not keen on” etc. So in this sentence LIKE is a verb which shows preference.

I like swimming, I like dogs, I don’t like rap music.

  • What do you like?
  • What do you dislike? 

Let’s look at this picture. “Would you like some tea?

This woman is asking the man if he wants tea.

So when we talk about what we want or when we ask someone what they want, we can use “would like”.

Would you like to do an exercise on this topic? =)

I really like this song. It is “Help” by The Beatles. Take a break, listen to this great song!

“We can help you, if you like.”

What does “if you like” mean? We use “if you like” when we offer our help, or when we suggest something.

We can go to the movies, if you like. (if you like = if you want to do this).

Look at this girl! She’s as graceful as a swan. She dances like a goddess.

What does LIKE mean here? She dances like a goddess.
It means in a similar way, happening in the same way as something else.

What can we say if a man eats too much and too fast?
We can say that he eats like a horse, in the same way as a horse.

Here, like is used as a preposition.


From the Wikipedia article on Keira Knightley, famous English actress: “Knightley was cast in the role due to her close resemblance to Portman; even the two actresses’ mothers had difficulty telling their daughters apart when the girls were in full makeup.”

Can you tell which picture (left or right) shows Keira Knightley and which one shows Natalie Portman?

You’re right, Portman is on the left and Knightley is on the right.

They look like each other, don’t they? Knightley was hired because she looks like Portman.

Look like someone” means that people have similar appearance. We can also say that two people look alike.  We can also use taste, feel, sound, smell with this meaning.
For example: "Your perfume smells like my boyfriend’s! It feels like I just saw him".

We can use “look like” and “feel like” with a more idiomatic meaning.

Compare:

  • She looks like my mother.
  • It looks like Sasha is late again.

In which sentence is “look like” used idiomatically? Yep, in the second one. In the first sentence we’re talking about outward appearance, about eyes, skin, hair color. In the second sentence we mean “it seems that” when we say “it looks like”.

Compare:

  • I feel like he’s here.
  • I feel like singing a song.

In the first sentence, I actually feel as if he’s here, I feel that he’s here, even if he’s not here.
In the second sentence, I want to sing a song, I feel like singing a song. In this case “feel like doing something” is idiomatic.

What do you feel like doing right now?

I love big cities like New York!  Just listen to this song from Frank Sinatra - New York, New York

Do you want to visit big cities like New York?
What does “like” mean in this sentence? Here, we use it to give an example. I can say “I love big cities, such as NY.” It will mean the same thing.

Do you often eat fruits like apples, bananas and berries?


Have you seen the new Les Misérables musical? What’s it like? I want to watch it, but I don’t know if I’ll like it.

So what did I want you to tell me when I said “What’s it like?”

I wanted to hear your opinion about it; I wanted you to tell me what you thought of it. So when we ask someone to describe something or give their opinion, we can ask “What is it like?”

By the way, Les Miserables is a REALLY great film, you should watch it!


 

So we can use like in these cases:
to like = to enjoy, to think something is nice I like fresh coffee, what do you like?
would like – to ask what someone wants What would you like to eat?
if you like – to suggest or offer something I’ll help you, if you like.
to do something like someone – to do something in the same way    She dresses like a princess!
to look like someone, sound like, feel like, taste like = similar to something You look like me!
it looks like… = it seems that It looks like he is late again.
to feel like doing something = to want to do this right now I feel like going to sleep.
like = for example, such as Big cities like London are very expensive.
What… like? – to ask someone for their opinion What is she like? Is she nice?
 


There are also some more uses of like.
Like can be used as a noun: likes and dislikes. For example: "My friend and I have the same likes and dislikes".
Likes and dislikes are the things you like and don’t like.

What are your likes and dislikes?

We can use “like” as part of an adjective, as the suffix. For example: "This portrait is very lifelike. Who painted it? "

Some of these adjectives are:

  • Childlike (like a child)
  • Ladylike (like a lady)
  • Catlike (like a cat)
  • Lifelike (the same as in life)

Do you know childlike adults?

I also wanted to tell you about this English saying: Like father, like son. What do you think it means?
This photo can help you figure it out.

And now check your understanding with the help of these exercises:


Good luck!  Hope you like this blog =)
 

Мы рассмотрели правила и примеры использования слова like в английском языке. Чтобы узнать больше об английской грамматике, читайте другие публикации в разделе Grammar!

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