Wrong Word Wednesday #25

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television

As If (or though) / Like

Which is correct:

It looks like we’re lost
It’s as if we’re lost

Is there even a difference? Which one do you use? If you use the former then you are doing it wrong. If the latter then excellent! But do you know why the former is wrong?

“As” is a conjunction yet far more regularly the preposition “like” is being used these days. A preposition is a connecting word and “like” is supposed to be used for comparison:

“That’s a drawing of a dog? It looks like a horse”
“You throw like a girl.”
“You sound like my mother.”

As is used when no verbs follow the word:

“You look as if you’re going to be sick.”
“Your exam mark was atrocious. It’s as though you didn’t even study!”

For a few more details, see Grammar Girl, including the debate over the difference between as if and as though.

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