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I went to take an aerial tramway. The cabin was made of glass. When I got back, at home I talked to my girlfriend:

(In the transparent cabin,) I was like flying in the sky.

Is this sentence correct? I feel "I" is a person, "flying" is an action. Can a person be similar to an action? Otherwise what's the correct way to say it?

My girlfriend says I'm like Tom Cruise and I believe her grammar is correct in that a person is like a person.

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    I would say "I felt as if I was flying."
    – Yunus
    Dec 24, 2022 at 13:35
  • Or 'I was like someone flying in the sky'. Dec 24, 2022 at 13:36

3 Answers 3

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I was flying is the continuous form of the verb in the first case and a gerund in the second:

There is a difference in function between (i) "I was, like, flying in the sky." (Note the commas) and (ii) "It was like flying in the sky.

In (i) "like" is a 'filler'. It has no real meaning and is not necessary. It is used as an adverb and as a colloquialism that is relatively popular in spoken English among younger people.

The better version is "It was as if I were flying in the sky." Or "It was similar to flying in the air."

In "It was like flying in the sky." like is a preposition = similar to.

Your girlfriend seems to be good at grammar. :)

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  • ++1 - '"like" is a 'filler'. It has no real meaning and is not necessary. It is used as an adverb and as a colloquialism that is relatively popular in spoken English among younger people.' Dec 24, 2022 at 13:59
  • I completely agree the colloquialism part. My TA once said "The time for the exam is like up". I didn't know if it's really up.. :P
    – Gqqnbig
    Dec 24, 2022 at 14:16
  • Anyway, I prefer "It was like flying in the sky." It's like more colloquial.
    – Gqqnbig
    Dec 24, 2022 at 14:18
  • "relatively popular in spoken English among younger people" is an understatement. Among most of my North American friends and relatives, not all young, like is an addiction, an inclusion in nearly all sentences. They said.... is history. All I hear now is They went like, we're tired (or similar). Dec 24, 2022 at 18:49
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No, it isn't correct (although some people use like in casual speech as what Oxford calls "a meaningless filler").

The correct way would be "I felt as though/if I was flying". You were not 'like flying', the experience was. So you could also say "It was/felt like flying".

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You are correct. It doesn't make sense to say "I was like flying", because a person can't normally be like an action. (One could probably come up with metaphorical or poetic examples where someone does this. But I really can't think of one that sounds sensible off the top of my head. You might say something like, "George was like a hurricane that blew through the room" -- but you're not comparing him to the action of blowing, you're comparing him to a hurricane, a thing.)

You could say, "Riding in this tram was like flying." In that case you are comparing one action to another.

You could say, "It was like flying." This is essentially the same as the previous example, with "it" referring to "riding in this tram".

You could say, "I felt like I was flying." Then you're not saying that you, the person, is like flying, but rather that the feeling was like flying.

There are many other possible variations.

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