“Like” Like a Native – 3 Ways English Speakers Use “Like”

The word “like” has many faces; it can be a noun, an adjective, an adverb, a preposition, or even a conjunction. Do you watch American films or television? Do you practice your English conversation skills with native speakers? If so, you’ve likely come across this versatile word at least once!

Like is ALWAYS followed by an object. Unlike many other languages, you cannot just say “I like” as a sentence in English. “Like” must be followed by an object, or a person or thing to which a specific action or feeling is directed. For example: “I like coffee!” However, if we use “like” to compare two things, or just as filler, that’s another story!

The 3 Ways to Use “Like”

  1. “Like” can be used to ask about your preference, or the qualities of a subject. “What car do you like?” asks you about your preference, for example. “What’s your car like?” asks about the qualities of a specific subject; in this case, it’s your car. Be mindful to watch for phrasing, and pay attention to what the question really asks. We know it can be confusing!
  2. “Like” can also be used to compare, or level up your descriptions of things. For example, anyone who has watched Gabby’s videos knows she has amazingly blue eyes! One way to use “like” to compare in a situation like this would be to say: “Gabby’s eyes are blue like the ocean.” This type of comparison is also known as a simile, which is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.
  3. “Like” is often used as a filler, especially in North America. Word of caution: use it sparingly and use it correctly, as overuse can be considered annoying!

Click on the video below to hear Gabby’s take on the word “like”!

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