The word like exhibits several different grammatical properties. It can be used as a preposition, a conjunction, an adjective or an adverb.
Like as a preposition
When used as a preposition, like is followed by a noun.
- She looks like her mother.
- He walks like his dad.
Like as a conjunction
In informal English, like is sometimes used as a conjunction instead of as. This is very common in American English.
- Nobody understands her like I do. (Informal)
- Nobody understands her as I do. (Formal)
If you are like somebody you are similar to him or her.
- She is like her mother.
- It was a small bird like a sparrow. (= The bird was similar to a sparrow.)
- She was like her brother. They were both excellent writers.
- No one can play the piano like he does.
Like can be used with the modifiers just and very.
- My neighbour has bought a new car just like mine.
- He is very like his brother in many ways.
We can use like after the copular verbs seem, look, sound, smell, taste and feel. As is not usually possible in this case.
- She seems like a good candidate for the job. (NOT She seems as a good candidate for the job.)
- He looks like his brother. (NOT He looks as his brother.)
Feel can be followed by like or as if / though.
- She felt like she was in a dream. (= She felt as if she was in a dream.)
Feel like can also mean ‘want’ or ‘would like’.
- I feel like singing. (= I want to sing.)
If something is like new, it looks like it is new.
- They just applied a coat of paint and the house was like new.