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Which one is preferable? I think the first one, but still:

A: This tree looks strange.

B: Yes, it looks as if it's going to fall.

vs.

A: This tree looks strange.

B: Yes, it looks like as if it's going to fall.

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1 Answer 1

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With respect to the words at issue, grammatical sentences include:

  1. It looks as if it's going to fall.
  2. It looks like it's going to fall.

Since like and as if mean the same in the context of your sentence, it would be redundant and wrong to repeat them one after another.


In the entry for the word like, the Oxford Learner's Dictionary website contains the following caveat within the Which Word? usage note (modified):

In informal English like is frequently used as an adverb instead of as if: It looks like we’re going to be late. This use of like is common but is not considered correct in formal written English.


To sum up, you're most likely to hear sentence number 2 in informal spoken/written English – meaning in most situations – but it'd be best to stick to sentence 1 (i.e., as if) if you're writing something formal, such as an academic article, official letter, school essay with such requirements, etc. Nevertheless, don't focus too much on this; you'll acquire the difference in register naturally if you keep being exposed to good English.

Also, as though is equivalent to as if, so sentence 1 could comfortably read:

It looks as though it's going to fall.

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