Monday, May 21, 2007

Two little words - lost!

Whatever became of the two little words, "as if"?

Oh, they're still used in a new way - to express a negative response to a suggestion - "Don't you want to go out with him?" "As if!"

But I'm talking about the old-fashioned words used to express a comparison: "It looks as if it will rain" - not "It looks like it will rain."

The word "like" goes between two noun comparisons:
  • "He looks just like his father."
  • "In that red suit, she looks like a hot air balloon."
"As if" is used between verbal ideas:
  • "It looks as if it will rain."
  • "It looks as if he will take after his father."
I don't know if I can do anything to remedy locutions such as, "He was like, 'What are you doing here?'"or "I was like, 'This can't be happening to me!'"

Some sensible word should be substituted for "like" in these examples, e.g., "He said, 'What are you doing here?'" or "I thought, 'This can't be happening to me!'"

I'm afraid these improper uses of "like" are past remedying, but I thought I'd give it a whirl in case someone out there is listening.


RUTH said...

I'd never thought about this...I think I would say "as if" but it's hard to think what we usually say when put on the spot. It does remind me of the old Christmas joke; Mrs Claus asks Santa Claus what the weather is like and he says "It looks like Reindeer"

Liz said...

I'd never thought about this either. I think - hope - that most of the time the grammar that was instilled in me in school comes through automatically. I certainly wouldn't say 'He looked as if his father.'
But I would say 'It looks like rain.' But then that is two nouns. Hm, I will read and listen to things more carefully in future.

I like Ruth's joke!

Anonymous said...

I am testing the anonymous comments on behalf of my sister!