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Such as versus like

Posted by Wendy Wood on 8th June , 2021 in Grammar
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I was writing an email yesterday and wanted to give a couple of examples to clarify my thoughts. But I had to decide if I should write such as or like to list these examples. Do you know there are subtle differences in their meanings?

The phrase such as indicates your examples include whatever follows the phrase. If you make a statement and follow it with like, you’re comparing your statement with whatever examples follow, but your statement doesn’t necessarily include those examples. A couple of sentences will help us better understand.

I want to read classics, such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Great Gatsby.

Using such as would include Fahrenheit 451 and The Great Gatsby in my choices of literary classics I want to read.

I want to read classics, like Fahrenheit 451 and The Great Gatsby.

Using like means I want to read classics that are similar to Fahrenheit 451 and The Great Gatsby, but what I end up reading may not necessarily be these two books.

Knowing the subtle difference between such as and like will alleviate any confusion readers may have.

Wendy Wood


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