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Clauses, Phrases, Word comparisons

Note 73 – Using the words ‘like’ and ‘as’

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 73, then please read on…

The words ‘like’ and ‘as’ are used quite a bit in writing, but are they always used correctly?  You will be pleased to know that there is a way to work out if you are using the right one and it makes it easier if you know the difference between a phrase and a clause.  I specifically wrote yesterday’s blog (note 72 – The difference between a phrase and a clause) to prepare you for today’s.

To recap on note 72, a phrase is a group of words that does not contain a verb, and a clause is a group of words that does contain a verb (cited in The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal).  A tip he gives to remember this is:

  • Like is used in phrases (remember: phrases do not contain verbs)
  • As is used in clauses (remember: clauses do contain verbs)


In the following sentences the group of words in bold are phrases, therefore it is correct to use the word like:

  • It is soft like butter
  • Like so many others, they left it to the last minute to book their tickets.
  • The room smelt like fresh flowers


In the following sentences the group of words in bold are clauses (containing the verbs: burst, turned and said) therefore it is correct to use the word as:

  • They jumped as I burst into the room
  • As they turned the corner, they saw the park
  • As I said hello, she smiled

That’s all for today.  Please feel free to comment on this blog if you wish.  Also, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am happy to take requests on the subject of grammar/punctuationmmar/writing tips or similar.  Hope you have enjoyed today’s blog.

One more thing – did you notice the correct use of as in my last paragraph?

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Brandon Royal (2004) The Little Red Writing Book, USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer


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