This computer program treats photonic crystals like a periodic set of cylinders

I am having a hard time to figure out if I should use like or as in this sentence.

Thanks in advance!


Assuming you mean "as" when you say "us", either is possible, with a slight difference in meaning.

If you use "as", you have the particular verb "treat X as Y", which means that the thing is really an X, but you will behave as though it was really a Y.

If you use "like", that is less specific: something about the way you are treating X likens them to Y, but it is not necessarily pretending that they are Y.

  • 1
    Another useful way of encapsulating that (sometimes fine) nuance of difference is to say as = as if it were (actually Y instead of X), whereas like can simply mean similar (not identical). Jan 23 '18 at 18:10
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers, do the rules of the site permit me to comment, "Thanks. I can go to bed now. I've learnt my something new and useful for today"? :) Jan 23 '18 at 21:20
  • 1
    @Ross: Only if you're over 50! (If you're younger, you should have lain in bed tossing and turning, thinking Why did he write were instead of was? :) Jan 24 '18 at 13:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.