TOEFL iTP | Structure & Written Expression | Like or Alike and Like or As

Lots to be covered in today’s blog/podcast! It was hard to put it in the title to make it make sense, but I can assure you that like/alike is ABSOLUTELY going to be on your TOEFL test when you take it, and too has a very high chance. So let’s dive into these basics!

The word alike is incorrectly used in place of like, or like is used in place of alike. This is what you’ll see on the test. So, to identify these words, memorize the following patterns.

Like A,…… | Like birds, mammals are warm-blooded.

A, like B, …. | Birds, like mammals, are warm-blooded.

A is like ……. | Birds are like mammals in that they are both warm-blooded.

A and B are alike | Birds and mammals are alike in that they are both warm-blooded.

Whenever you see the words alike or like underlined, you should suspect a word-choice error.

The word like is also sometimes confused with the word as. When like is used in a comparison, it is followed by a noun or pronoun. When as is used in comparison, it is followed by a clause containing a subject and a verb.

I did my experiment just as Paul did.

My results were much like Paul’s.

The word as is also used before nouns when it means in place of or in the role of. This is particularly common after certain verbs: serve, function, and use, among others.

The Vice-President served as President when the President was sick.

  1. Alike their close relative the frogs, toads, are amphibians.

Choice (A) doesn’t follow the pattern Like A, B….

2. Asters, as most perennial plants, bloom once a year.

The word like should be used in place of the word as before a noun phrase (most perennial plants).


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