Like or Alike

Like or Alike

By Alena Lien, 

2 April 2020



"Like" and "alike" are synonyms to mean similar but not identical.



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Like

This is used to compare one person or thing to another and can only used as a preposition or adjective.

"Like" as preposition

As a preposition, "like" comes after the subject and verb, and then followed by the object.


[subject + verb] + ["like"] + [object]

  • "You can't always treat him like a child."


It is often used with sense verbs such as look, seem, feel, smell, or sound.

  • "It smells like oranges."

  • "She looks like Mary."

You can also use adverbs to add degrees of similarity and this usually comes before the preposition.

[adverb] + ["like"] + [object]

  • "The wall is more like red than orange."

"Like" as adjective


As an adjective, it is used before nouns.


["like"] + [noun]

  • "He responded in like manner."

It can also be part of an adjective phrase.

  • "Like-minded people don't always get the job done."​



Alike

This refers to two or more people or things that are similar to each other and can be used as an adjective or an adverb.

"Alike" as adjective


As an adjective, it comes after nouns.

[noun] + ["alike"]

  • "Men and women alike will enjoy this sport."


You can also use other adverbs to add degrees of similarities, usually before the adjective.

[adverb] + ["alike"]

  • "The two pieces are very much alike."

  • "They were quite alike in their personalities."

"Alike" as adverb

As an adverb, it comes after the verb.

[verb] + ["alike"]

  • "The twins dressed alike in pink dresses."

  • "Great minds think alike."