Learn English – the difference between the words “as” and “like”


What is the difference between as and like?
What is the difference between such as and like?

I take many private lessons like (such as) English, French and chemistry.
He runs like a horse.
He runs as a horse.

Are these sentences correct and why?

Best Answer

According to the OED definition of "like":

A.1.c In modern use (with following dative) often = ‘such as’, introducing a particular example of a class respecting which something is predicated.

   1886 Stevenson Lett. (1899) II. 41 A critic like you is one who fights the good fight, contending with stupidity.    1887 Colvin Keats i. 1 A birth like that of Keats presents to the ordinary mind a striking instance of nature's inscrutability.

So there is essentially no difference between "like" and "such as" when used as you described. The two have been interchangeable since the late 1800s.