1. The two boys are alike in looks, but not in personality.
  2. He's like his brother.

These two sentences have been taken from Practical English Usage by Swan. He said that use of alike in second sentence is wrong, but he didn't explain it. Please tell me why only alike is suitable for the first sentence, while like for the second.

closed as off-topic by Kris, user140086, tchrist, Nathaniel, Drew Nov 22 '15 at 2:11

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    "Alike" has only a predicative usage. That means it can't be placed before a noun. "Like" is a preposition. – user140086 Nov 21 '15 at 13:34
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    Look further. A good dictionary to start with. Good Luck. See also: English Language Learners – Kris Nov 21 '15 at 14:07
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    @Hugh I said, "That means it can't be placed before a noun". Those are adverbial usages. – user140086 Nov 21 '15 at 15:22
  • @Rathony Shorter Oxfod says (Usually predicative) and predicative alike is about 10 times as common as post-positive qualifier alike . But " had access to Germany and France alike" and " board-games for girls and boys alike" can be found. Ngram "alike are" v. "are alike." – Hugh Nov 21 '15 at 15:28
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    @Hugh I can understand why it is called "post-positive" qualifier. But it is an adverbial usage. If we start to discuss it, it will be a 10-day-without-lunch-break discussion. – user140086 Nov 21 '15 at 15:30

Like can indicate pretty much any degree of similarity.
Alike is used when a high degree of similarity is being described.

Like is used when one person, or one set of persons, or any ONE entity, is being compared to someone or something.

Alike is used when two or more persons or things are being compared to one another.

Thus "is" can never be used with alike: it's always "are."

John and Peter are brothers. John is a lot like Peter. John and Peter are alike.

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    Hmm, §1. <John is alike Peter.> sounds good? §2. <Like Peter, John is.>? §3. <Alike Peter, John is.>? – Pacerier May 9 '17 at 10:34

Both like and alike may be used to tell similarity. On the other hand, alike -as an adverb -may also be used after you have referred to two people or groups, to mean ‘both’ or ‘equally’. Eg:

 Parents and teachers alike demanded reforms

Please check freedictionary

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    The question is about the "adjective" usage of both words. Not "adverbial". (Downvote is not mine) – user140086 Nov 21 '15 at 14:17

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