Welcome to your “As if” / “As though” / “Like” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• When do we use “As if”, “As though” and “Like”?
“It looks as if” / “It sounds as if”
Talking about how people do things
“As if” or “as though” with the past
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

When do we use “As if”, “As though” and “Like”?

You can use the words “as if” or “as though” to talk about some something or somebody looks, sounds or feels:

“I feel as if I’ve run a marathon.”

“That car looks as if it’s going to break down.”

“She sounded as if she was crying.”

You can use “as though” in all of these situations:

“She sounded as though she was crying.”

In informal spoken English you can also use “like”:

“She sounded like she was crying.”

Compare the forms “look + adjective” and “look as if + subject + verb”:

“You look sad.”

“You look as if you’re going to cry.”

“It looks as if” / “It sounds as if”

You can use these forms to make predictions or guesses about things and people:

“Mark is very late, it looks as if he’s not coming.”

“We took umbrellas because it looked as if it was going to rain.”

“Can you hear the sirens? It sounds as if there has been an accident.”

You can also use “as though” or “like”:

“It looks as though he’s not coming.”

“It looks like he’s not coming.”

Talking about how people do things

You can also use “as if” or “as though” with different verbs to talk about how someone does something:

“He ran as if his life depended on it.”

“When I told them, they looked at me as though I was crazy.”

In informal English you can also use “like”.

“As if” or “as though” with the past

Sometimes, we can use “as if” or “as though” with the past when you’re talking about the present:

“I don’t like her, she acts as if she owned the world.”

The meaning is not past in this sentence, despite the fact that we used the word “owned”. This is because we’re talking about an unreal situation (she doesn’t own the world). This is similar to “If I + past” / “I wish I + past”:

“She’s always upsetting me, as if I didn’t have enough problems.”

“I’m 28, why are you talking to me as if I was a child?”

When you use the past in this way, you can also use “were” instead of “was”:

“I’m 28, why are you talking to me as if I were a child?”

Useful Links

“If I + past” / “I wish I + past”
Adjectives
“Like” / “As”

Join 27,000 other English learners.