1. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    as if / like

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jowettc, Feb 1, 2012.

    I find these irritating prepositions (?) in my writing and I am constantly editing the little tykes out.

    But the question is: When, if ever, is it okay to use them in narrative?

    Example 1: It looked, to the whole world, like his head was on fire.
    Example 2: It was as if her hair was finely spun gossamer threads.

    I find myself rehashing the narrative to remove them.

    Example 3: It gave him the appearance that his head was on fire.
    Example 4: Her hair shone gossamer gold.

    Comments / suggestions?
     
  2. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    "As if" is the correct form, but in spoken English many people use "like."
    "As" is a conjunction, while "like" is a preposition. So the correct way is to use "like" only in front of a noun, and use "as" to "join" some complex sentence. So while your Example 2 is correct, your Example 1 is not.
     
  3. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    I personally prefer

    Thats how i write it in my stories. sometimes people tell me to change it but i say get stuffed its my style of writing. go with what feels natural when you write it, and what seems better to read?
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    To look like someone
    it is like something

    mean to see something for real and compare it to another real something like this:

    it looks like the neighbour's cat.
    it is like a red ball but it is not quite round.

    and


    it looks as if: it means
    is saying that something or someone looked like/felt like something but is not happening,because in this example you are using a metaphor and not a real thing.
    so I personally would say it this way:
    It looked to whole word as if his head was on fire ( but we all know that that is not the real case because there is not fire/it is a metaphor)

    Anyway this how I see it.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's how i might word those examples... avoid being wordy... 'less is more'...
     
  6. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    Thank for the tips guys.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    According to my dictionary, "like" is an adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction or noun, according to context.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep.

    Like + noun or noun clause: "She looked like an idiot/the cat that swallowed the cream".
    as if/as though + sentence: "She felt as if/though she was going to sink through the floor".

    unless you are being idiomatic (which you may want to be). Actually, the spell and grammar check for British English reminds you not to follow 'like' by a clause like "she was going to faint". It must be a regional thing, or something new/imported from the US. I have never used 'She felt like e.g. she had won the lottery'. We had it drummed into us at an early age that it was incorrect.
     

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