like verb.
I should like is normal in BrE and I would like in other varieties, although in practice the contracted form I'd like is common, especially in speech. These forms are followed either by a to-infinitive (I should like to come too) or by an object followed by a to-infinitive (They would like us to come too). The past form is should (or would) have liked to, and in this case the normal to-infinitive should follow, e.g. I should have liked to come too, not ☒ I should have liked to have come too (but I should like to have come too is also possible). The construction like + for + object + to-infinitive is largely confined to AmE:

• I'd like very much for you to meet him —New Yorker, 1988.

1. like as a conjunction.
Like is used as a preposition in the sentence Please try to write like me and as a conjunction in the sentence Please try to write like I do. In the second sentence, like is used instead of as, and this use seems still to be one of the cardinal issues by which a person's awareness of what is correct or incorrect grammar is judged. Fowler (1926) wrote that ‘every illiterate person uses this construction daily; it is the established way of putting the thing among all who have not been taught to avoid it’; and Evelyn Waugh wrote of his close friend and fellow writer Henry Green in the 1940s that ‘only one thing disconcerted me…The proletarian grammar —the “likes” for “ases”, the “bikes” for “bicycles”’.
Nonetheless, there is plenty of good evidence for this use. The OED gives examples from Shakespeare, Southey, William Morris, and other good writers. In more recent usage, like is often used as a conjunction in three principal ways; (1) with the verb repeated or a form of do replacing it

• (They didn't talk like other people talked —Martin Amis, 1981

• I'm afraid it might happen to my baby like it happened to Jefferson —New Yorker, 1987

• The retsina flowed like the Arno did when it overflowed in 1966 —Spectator, 1987)

(2) in AmE and Australian English, though less in BrE, to mean ‘as if’ or ‘as though’

• I wanted him born and now it feels like I don't want him —E. Jolley, 1985


• She acts like she can't help it —Lee Smith, AmE 1987

(3) replacing as in fixed or semi-fixed expressions such as as I said:

• Like you say, you're a dead woman —Mary Wesley, 1983

• Like I said, I haven't seen Rudi for weeks —Thomas Keneally, 1985.

Clearly, like continues to assert its right to be regarded as a conjunction, and there is little doubt that this right will be recognized in time. For the present, the advice has to be: when as (or as if or as though) can be substituted for like, use these alternatives, which are absolutely safe: They didn't talk as other people talked / Now it feels as if I didn't want him.
2. like and such as.
A difficulty can arise occasionally when like is used as a preposition in the sense ‘such as’, since it is not always clear whether the person or thing specified is included. In the sentence The English poets, like Shakespeare, are a key part of the curriculum, the English poets are being considered separately from Shakespeare and in a way comparable to him: that is, he shares their treatment but he is not one of them. Such as includes and defines, as it would if we recast this sentence in the form The English poets such as Keats and Shelley are a key part of the curriculum. In this case our knowledge helps to clarify the meaning, but this is not always so (as, for example in the sentence Houses like the one in the picture have reached enormous values: is the one in the picture included?). The title of Kingsley Amis's novel Take a Girl Like You (1960) could be taken to mean ‘a girl, for example, you’ or ‘a girl resembling you’. The first meaning was intended, but to resolve the ambiguity, the book would have to be called Take a Girl such as You, which it understandably isn't.
3. use of like as a filler.
In this use, like is added parenthetically to a statement. This is conversational only, and even then is often disapproved of as non-standard:

• Hayley was pleased. ‘That's him. He's, like, got her hypnotized.’ —Maurice Gee, 1990.

It is now a regular feature of the informal language of young people, and can occur several times in a single sentence.
4. like in idiomatic phrases.
This category includes phrases such as like always, like anything, like fun, like mad. These again belong only in informal conversational style:

• They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand —Lewis Carroll, 1872

• Skate was with him like always —M. Doane, 1988

• It's like my home show really, so I've been training like mad —Evening Gazette, 2007.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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