Drive-Thru Edit: like, as, and such as

Like is a word that pops up in conversation so often, even when it’s wrong, it sounds so right. Here we go anyway.

  • Lucy checked her manuscript for spelling mistakes like as she should.

(As is a conjunction used to combine two independent clauses.)

  • Lucy combed through the manuscript like a grammar granny.

(Like is a preposition that compares nouns or pronouns. Lucy is compared to a grammar granny. Note: There is no verb after grammar granny. If you did add a verb: Lucy combed through the manuscript as a grammar granny would do it.)

  • I like big furry animals such as bears, lions, and woolly mammoths.

(Use such as when giving examples.)

  • I would like to find more fruit such as kiwi.

(In this sentence, kiwi is an example of the fruit you’d like to find. Kiwi is on your shopping list!)

  • I would like to find more fruit like kiwi.

(In this sentence, you don’t want to find kiwi. You already have kiwi at home, but you like it so much, you want to find fruit similar to kiwi.)

Honestly? These rules may be important in formal writing, but when writing a novel? Your characters talk as they do. Or would they say like they do? They shouldn’t, but … ain’t nothin’ you can do about it.

Write on.

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