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Does the verb after the word like have to be in its present form? For example,

Today, I feel like I was a bird. (using past tense here for expressing the I am not really a bird)

or

Today, I feel like I am a bird.

or

Yesterday, I felt like I was a bird.

or

Yesterday, I felt like I am a bird.

Which ones are correct?

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    You don't need those to be verbs! Today, I feel like a bird! And so for other examples! – Maulik V Mar 23 '16 at 5:44
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    Maulik, I feel like a bird means that I have a wish or desire for a bird. Look at the sentences: I feel like a cup of coffee. I don't feel like an apple. I don't feel like going to the office today. – Khan Mar 23 '16 at 6:36
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    The sentence structure is different - I feel like [verb such as going (to office)] but I feel like a [noun such as bird]. @Khan – Maulik V Mar 23 '16 at 6:50
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    @Malik V you can use feel like in the same structure meaning both 'want' and 'seem'. I feel like (want) a cup of tea. I feel like (seem to be) a fool. – Yuri Mar 23 '16 at 6:54
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    @Maulik V, Maybe you would, but I, and NGram, can assure you that most British people would say "I feel like a drink" rather than "I feel like having a drink". In AmE, the former is still the most common, but the difference is not so great. Check out NGram: books.google.com/ngrams/… – JavaLatte Mar 23 '16 at 7:34
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In these simple examples, you want to have consistency in tense across the entire sentence. The easiest one is

Yesterday, I felt like I was a bird.

"Yesterday" establishes that this happened in the past. "felt" and "was" are both in the past tense and match the established tense.

Today, I felt like I was a bird.

and

Today, I feel like I am a bird.

are both valid, since "today" can refer to earlier in the day or the present. In the former sentence, using the past tense of both "to feel" and "to be" implies that it occurred earlier today and is not still ongoing. In the latter sentence, the feeling is still occurring, so you use the present tense of those verbs: "feel" and "am".

Take note of @Maulik V's comment, too. "I was"/"I am" aren't required for the sentences to be correct.

  • Is Today, I feel like I am a bird. valid since I am not actually a bird? – Ook Mar 23 '16 at 5:58
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    Sure. In fact, by only saying that that's only what you feel like, you are implying that you are not a bird. – paste Mar 23 '16 at 6:01

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