This is a situation

Mary and Mike had the same suitcases and boarded the same flight. When they got off the flight, they took each other's suitcase by accident.

Now, In the hotel, Mary opened the suitcase and saw Mike's clothes and Mike opened the suitcase and saw Mary's clothes.

They ended up wearing each other's clothes.

They went down to the tennis court near the hotel and they saw each other in surprise.

Mike said "her clothes are alike to mine".

Is it ambiguous for Mike to say "her clothes are alike to mine"?

Because "mine" here is "my clothes" and "my clothes" might refer to the clothes that Mike was wearing and Mike was wearing Mary's clothes.

Or "my clothes" could refer to his right previous clothes not the ones on his body now?

Is it correct to say "Her clothes are alike to my before/previous clothes" or just say "Her clothes are alike to my clothes"?

  • 4
    Two things are alike, one thing is like another. Mike could say "Her clothes look like mine" (meaning 'the clothes that belong to me'). Oct 28, 2022 at 16:28
  • 3
    We don't say alike to in modern English. It was common in the mid-1800s, but now we would just say like: Her clothes are like mine.
    – stangdon
    Oct 28, 2022 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


No, in that context, "my clothes" can only refer to the type of clothes that Mike typically wears (what you call "his right previous clothes") because at that moment, he's wearing Mary's clothes, not his own clothes, so there's no chance the clothes Mary is wearing look like the clothes he has on at that moment.

Now, if the same situation happened, but Mike didn't change his clothes, and continued wearing the clothes he had on during the flight, then "my clothes" would be ambiguous because it's possible that the clothes Mary is wearing match the clothes Mike has on right now as they're both his clothes.


In modern English we say either:

"Her clothes were like mine", or "Her clothes and mine were alike".

"Alike to" is not current usage.

You would not use 'before' or 'previous'. Even if the grammar were correct, the semantics wouldn't be because the suitcase contain Mike and Mary's current clothing.

If you were looking at old clothes in a wardrobe, or at a jumble sale, you might say: "Those are like my earlier style".

  • This corrects a mistake in the question, but doesn't address the OP's actual question about ambiguity
    – gotube
    Oct 28, 2022 at 17:57
  • @gotube It seems to me that it answers the question. If you remove the errors, the ambiguity disappears.
    – PRL75
    Oct 28, 2022 at 18:04

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