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  • prep: laɪk
  • verb: laɪk // laɪks (3rd pers. pres.) // laɪkt (past)




The most common translation of "like" is comme.
It can express a manner. Its role in similes is also notorious ("A simile is a metaphor using like or as")

  • If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. (fierce winds March 1 -> a gentle breeze March 31)
  • "Someone like you", (Adèle) / "Like a hurricane", (Neil Young)
  • "The ice was here, the ice was there, / The ice was all around: / It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, / Like noises in a swound" (Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner")
  • "The Albatross fell off, and sank / like lead into the sea" (Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner")
  • "like a leaf clings to a tree, oh my darling cling to me..." (two extraordinary voices: David Bowie, Nina Simone, "Wild is the Wind", lyrics)

NB: comme is translated as as when it means "in the role of" / en tant que:

  • comme contribuable: As a taxpayer
  • comme tout contribuable, je... = Like any taxpayer, I...

Sense verbs (verbs of perception)

When used with a sense verb (taste, smell, look, sound, feel) the meaning of the two words together (looks like) is often best translated more simply in French as on dirait qu(e):

  • look(s) like: avoir l'air de, on dirait qu'il
    • (It) looks like rain.
    • (On dirait qu'il va pleuvoir)
    • That looks like everything.
    • (On dirait que c'est tout.)
    • He/It doesn't look like he's in much pain. (Il n'a pas l'air de souffrir trop.)
    • She/It looks like she's getting better. (Elle a l'air d'aller mieux.)
  • feel(s) like: on dirait que, (au toucher), avoir envie de, se sentir
    • It feels like silk but maybe it's synthetic.
    • I feel like hell this morning.
    • I felt like working late last night.
  • taste(s) like: avoir le/un gout de
    • Do frog legs taste more like chicken or more like beef?
    • That's a very delicate whiskey, it tastes like lapsang suchong.
  • smell(s) like: avoir l'odeur de
    • It smells like onions in here.
    • The rat must have thought it smelled like a trap, because it wouldn't eat the cheese.
    • It's smelling a bit like spring, at last.
  • sound(s) like: avoir l'air de: (au téléphone)
    • You sound like you're not feeling very well.
    • It sounds like you've done all you can.
  • seem(s) like: avoir l'air de, on dirait
    • It seems like it's working
    • They seem like nice people.


"having the same characteristics or qualities" (as another), Middle English shortening of Old English gelic "like, similar," from Proto-Germanic *galika- "having the same form," literally "with a corresponding body" (cf. Old Saxon gilik, Dutch gelijk, German gleich, Gothic galeiks "equally, like"), a compound of *ga- "with, together" + Germanic base *lik- "body, form; like, same" (cf. Old English lic "body," German Leiche "corpse," Danish lig, Swedish lik, Dutch lijk "body, corpse"). Analogous, etymologically, to Latin conform.
The modern form (rather than *lich Cf. -ly) may be from a northern descendant of the Old English word's Norse cognate, glikr.



aimer (bien) --> like
aimer (d'amour) --> love

love, like like is a state verb. It is generally considered incompatible with the grammatical structure be + ing. However, social networks -- in particular facebook -- have helped to create an event reading of "like": "I liked all of his photos this afternoon, each and every one of them!"

syntax: Verb + (direct) object

2 arguments (subject + predicate), "transitive"

  • Infinitivals: They like to read her tweets. (whenever it happens that she tweets)
  • Participials: They like reading her tweets. (while they're reading them, or more generally)
  • Other NPs: She likes her rabbit. She doesn't like cats.
  • Inanimate subject implies personification:
    • My pet rock likes sleeping up there on the shelf.
    • Trouble seems to like coming to this part of town.


like is regular in both the present and past tense.

It takes -s [s] (3rd pers. sing.), and -d [t]

Discourse marker

Young people tend to overuse like as a discourse marker, in some cases it can mark a change of speaker/perspective, in others it seems to be used as a filler while a person is thinking of what they want to say, but more generally it marks a point at which eye-contact is frequent, the speaker warns the listener to conjure up a paradigm similar to what will be said next, attention! cognitive work ahead. It is not considered good usage, though it has become a characteristic of both US English and like, you know, globisch. :D

  • "She was all like "I'm not doing it." and stuff until I told her there was blueberry pie in the oven."
  • I was, like, you know, WTF.

The comparative suffix -like

Forms an adjective from a noun

  • childlike
  • life-like
  • dream-like

Compare to -ly: cowardly

The associative prefix like-

  • like-minded
  • likewise (de même, également)
  • likely (vraisemblable) peut être utilisé de façon ironique: "That's a likely story."
  • unlikely (invraisemblable)

The NP / ADV alike