English Grammar - Pre-Intermediate

'Like' as Verb and Preposition

The word like seems to have many uses in English, some as a verb and some as a preposition:


I like beer.
I would like a beer.

In the first sentence, we are talking about what someone likes in general, always. In the second, the person is asking for a beer now. In English we use would like to ask for something and not would want as in many languages.

She would like to go to Australia next year.
NOT She would want to go to Australia next year.


Like used as a preposition means "similar to" or "the same as".

His house is huge. It's like a palace.
Sandra is a teacher, like me.
I hate television quiz shows like this.

If we want to know general information about a person or place, we can use like in the question:

Q: What is your father like?
A: He is tall and muscular and a very generous person.

Q: What is London like?
A: Well, it's a chaotic, cosmopolitan city. But in summer, it's full of tourists.

We can use look like if we only want physical information:

Q: What does your sister look like?
A: She is blonde with lovely green eyes. She is quite short.

Note the difference between look and look like in these sentences:

My father looks happy all the time.
Your sister looks like a model.
He looks French if you ask me!
Jane looks like Meryl Streep.

So we use:

look    +   Adjective / Age
look like   +   Person / Noun

Introduction To Phrasal Verbs

If you want to see our phrasal verb section of the site, click here.

Phrasal verbs are verbs that are comprised of a main verb plus a particle, or preposition. Some phrasal verbs have two particles after the main verb!

She gets up at six o'clock every morning.
Turn on the television, that programme is starting now.
My grandmother lives with us and we look after her.
I will never live up to my mother's expectations of me.

Phrasal verbs must be learnt individually like normal verbs. Often there is a clue, a help, in the main verb as to its meaning:

She sat down on the sofa.
I am looking for my glasses. Where are they?

But often there isn't any help in the main verb:

I didn't want to speak to her, so I hung up.
We had to put our cat down last year. It was terrible.

Once you learn the meaning of a phrasal verb, you then must learn how it can be used. Most importantly, you must learn if it is formal or informal English and if it can be separated or not.

Most phrasal verbs can be separated - that is, the main verb and the particle can have another word, usually the object, in between them.

I got John up at seven o'clock as he had to leave early.
She said she didn't have a hotel room so I put her up.
They picked their parents up from the airport.

Usually, if we use a pronoun such as it, her, him, etc, this must go between the main verb and the particle.

But you need to learn those that can't be separated:

They got on the bus.    NOT    They got the bus on.

You should treat phrasal verbs like any normal vocabulary. That is to say, you must learn each one individually - its meaning and its use.

'Have' and 'Have Got'

have got is used in some English-speaking countries (not very much in the United States) to mean have, possess.

John has got a big house near the harbour.
We haven't got any children.
Have you got a cigarette, please?

Remember to use has in the third person:

Positive Negative* Question
I've got
You've got
He's got
She's got
It's got
We've got
You've got
They've got
I haven't got
You haven't got
He hasn't got
She hasn't got
It hasn't got
We haven't got
You haven't got
They haven't got
Have I got?
Have you got?
Has he got?
Has she got?
Has it got?
Have we got?
Have you got?
Have they got?

Note the contractions used.


This hotel has got two large restaurants.
I've got a terrible headache!

This television hasn't got an off switch!
We haven't got time to look in shop windows. Come on!!

Has you car got electric windows?
Have your parents got photos of their wedding?

Note. You cannot use have got to replace have in expressions which do not signify possession.

I have a shower at seven every morning.
NOT I have got a shower at seven every morning.

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