‘Like’ vs. ‘Such As’: Navigating the usage for researchers

by Arushi Gupta
like vs such as

As researchers, you often encounter the need to provide examples or make comparisons. Two common phrases used in these instances are “like” and “such as”. However, understanding when to use each can be a source of confusion. Let us delve into the nuances of “like” and “such as” usage, particularly in the context of research writing.

Table of Contents

Difference between ‘like’ and ‘such as’

The main distinction between “like” and “such as” lies in their purpose within a sentence. “Like” compares or draws similarities, while “such as” introduces specific examples or instances.

  • Use “like” to indicate similarities between two entities or concepts.
  • Use “such as” to introduce examples that illustrate or exemplify a broader concept or category.

Example: “Several renowned researchers in the field of psychology, such as Dr. Johnson, Dr. Rodriguez, and Dr. Lee, have made significant contributions to the understanding of cognitive processes.”

Example: “The new experimental technique is like a game-changer in the field of nanotechnology, revolutionizing the fabrication of nanostructures.”

When to use ‘like’

The term “like” is often used to draw comparisons or make similes, highlighting similarities between two entities or concepts.

Example: “The data exhibited a pattern like a bell-shaped curve, indicating a normal distribution of values.”

In this instance, “like” is used to compare the pattern of the data to a bell-shaped curve, emphasizing the similarity between the two.

When to use ‘such as’

The phrase “such as” is used to introduce specific examples or instances that further illustrate or clarify a concept or idea.

Example: “Various statistical methods, such as regression analysis, ANOVA, and factor analysis, were employed to analyze the data.”

Here, “such as” introduces specific examples of statistical methods that were utilized in the research analysis.

Like’ vs. ‘such as’ examples

  • “The human brain is a complex organ, with various regions responsible for functions like memory, attention, and language processing.” (Here, “like” is used to draw a comparison between the functions of different brain regions and the listed examples.)

  • “The survey results showed that participants from diverse backgrounds, like engineers, teachers, and doctors, expressed similar concerns about climate change.” (In this example, “like” is used to compare the concerns expressed by participants from different professions.)

  • “Several renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind energy, and hydropower, have gained prominence as alternatives to fossil fuels.” (Here, “such as” introduces specific examples of renewable energy sources that are considered alternatives to fossil fuels.)

  • “Numerous scientific journals publish research articles in various disciplines, such as biology, physics, and sociology.” (In this instance, “such as” is used to provide examples of different disciplines within which research articles are published.)

Understanding the appropriate usage of “like” and “such as” is essential for researchers to convey their ideas accurately and effectively. By employing these phrases correctly, you can enhance the clarity and precision of your academic writing to a large extent.

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