A tutorial gives this example to demonstrate the use of "the".

The manager told us more about plan for the New Year's party.

narrator says

... it can’t stay like it is. we say that the manager told us more. That means you already knew something about this plan. That means you can use "the".

I understand the meaning of that clearly. I'd just like to know the usage of like this and like it is. In other words, does the following mean the same thing as the one above?

... it can’t stay like this ...

Both "like it is" and "like this" refer to use "plan" without any articles, shown by the first quotation.

  • Like it is and like this mean essentially the same thing in this context. May 26, 2020 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


In context, they mean the same thing, but there are times when you can't use "this".

"This" is used to refer to a specific person or thing close at hand, being indicated or experienced, or just mentioned. In other words, the person you are talking to has to know what you mean by "this", so you must have already mentioned it, or they must be able to sense it in some way. For example, if you said "this city" you would either mean the city you are presently in, otherwise you must be looking at it from a distance or on a map, or already be discussing it.

In the context of your example, "this" refers to the plan. If you had just discussed the details of the plan with the person you are speaking to then they will know what you mean if you say "it can't stay like this". If they were unaware of the details, then you could say "it can't stay like it is" and then go on to discuss the details with them if necessary.

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