Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same.
More than one person, doubtless like me,
writes in order to have no face.

Michel Foucault

Friday, June 3, 2011


like/as though/as if

Does this drive you crazy? 

like/as though/as if
Sure, many writers are grammar crazy, English majors, and otherwise smart people. I envy those talents that can identify, on the fly, where there is a grammatical error. Me? I sit in a critique group and some will offer; you should have had a comma here, this sentence ended in a preposition, or your participle is dangling, not to mention the modifier you used in the third paragraph. I am usually engrossed within the story, so I don’t notice. When I write, it’s during revision time I see the error and wonder how I missed it in the first place; sometimes I still miss it even though it’s glaring in front of my eyes like a hot coal. On the other hand, many writers are just plain people trying to put words to paper, and we all know we don’t write like we talk…do we.

like/as though/as if

Drive me nutz! Sometimes it is a simple choice knowing whether to use like, as if, or as though. More often, befuddlement overtakes my thoughts, as if a thundercloud has descended above my desk. Here’s a good link explaining the use of thesewords, but like most things learned in writing there is a rule to cover the rule. For example, the rule is, the word like should never be used before a clause. It looks like it will rain. I think, “It looks as if it will rain” sounds fine, also, “It looks as though it will rain” but my name is not Webster or whoever made up the rule.

Like should only be used before a noun, as in the following example: The girl looks like her mother. Here is an obvious example, one would not say, “The girl looks as if her mother.” That just sounds stupid.

Maybe that’s the point of good writing…and note…I did not say correct writing. I think writers need to write like people talk. It just makes sense to me and sometimes, sense is all we have.


  1. That does sound like a "rule" I've broken probably dozens of times without knowing it. Like, whatever.

    BTW, you're missing the closing quotation mark here: the modifier you used in the third paragraph.

    Couldn't resist.

  2. Leave to RM. Of course, I could say I did that so someone could find it. ;-)


Follow The Interrupted Writer by email