What Part of Speech is “LIKE”?

In English texts and everyday communication, the word “like” serves a variety of purposes. It can act as an adjective, a preposition, an adverb, a conjunction, a noun, or a verb.

  1. Adjective

This word is classified under adjectives if it is used to modify a noun or a pronoun by indicating similarities in qualities or characteristics. For example, in the sentence below:

You’re not talking about like things when you compare football and golf.

The word “like” is used as an adjective that describes the noun “things.”


a. having the same or similar qualities

  • Example:
  • I responded in like manner.
  1. Preposition

Another common function of the word “like” is as a preposition that also means “for example” or “similar to.” In the sample sentence below:

Their house is like a barn.

The word “like” is used as a preposition that indicates that the “house” is similar to a “barn.”


a. having the same characteristics or qualities as

  • Example:
  • There were other suits like mine in the shop.

b. used to draw attention to the nature of an action or event

  • Example:
  • We apologize for coming over unannounced like this.

c. such as; for example

  • Example:
  • They discussed books like 1984 and Animal Farm.
  1. Adverb

The word ”like” can also be categorized as an adverb if it is used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Take for example, the sentence below:

The distance is more like 750 miles.

In this sentence, the word modifies the adjective “750,” and is therefore considered as an adverb.


a. nearly; approximately

  • Example:
  • It was like 8 feet deep.

b. used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker’s uncertainty about an expression just used

  • Example:
  • There was this funny smell—sort of dusty like.
  1. Conjunction

There are also some cases wherein the word “like” is used as a conjunction that connects two clauses to form one sentence. For instance, in the sample sentence below:

I hate girls who change boyfriends like they change clothes.

The word “like” serves as a conjunction that links together the clauses “I hate girls who change boyfriends” and “they change clothes.”


a. in the same way that; as

  • Example:
  • They raven down scenery like children do sweetmeats.

b. as though; as if

  • Example:
  • I felt like I’d been kicked by a horse.
  1. Noun

Other times, the word “like” is considered as a noun, which refers to something of the same kind. In the example:

Did you ever hear the like?

The word “like” is used as a noun that is used to indicate a thing of the same kind.


a. a thing or things of the same kind

  • Example:
  • We will never see anyone of her like again.
  1. Verb

The word “like” is also typically used as a verb that indicates a state of being. Take for example, the sentence:

He likes baseball more than anything.

In this sentence, the word suggests the state of being of the pronoun “he,” and is therefore considered as a verb.


a. to enjoy (something); to get pleasure from (something)

  • Example:
  • I like all Dan Brown’s books.

b. wish for; want

  • Example:
  • Would you like a cup of tea?
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