Posted by: catindiaonline | September 13, 2008

Like vs. Such As [ GMAT sentence correction Notes]

Like vs. Such As

Question: What’s the difference between like and such as?

Example of the “mistake” that we make in everyday speech:
Can you buy me some fruit like oranges or grapefruit?

How the GMAT Official Guide would explain this mistake: Using like in
this answer choice mistakenly suggests that the utterer of the request does
in fact not want oranges or grapefruit, but rather some other kind of fruit
that is similar to oranges or grapefruit.

In normal English: In GMATLand, like means similar to,
and such as means for example. Take a look at these examples:

  • Can you buy me some fruit like oranges or grapefruit?

In GMATLand, this sentence would mean that you do NOT want oranges or grapefruit;
instead, you’d prefer some fruit similar to oranges and grapefruit. For example,
you may want pomelo, lemons, or limes. Yes, I know this sounds a little crazy,
but our goal is to understand what GMAT is looking for, not what is “correct”
English.

  • Can you buy me some fruit such as oranges or grapefruit?

Yes, this is what we’re supposed to say in GMATLand — oranges and grapefruit
are examples of the type of fruit we want.

  • I would like you to buy such fruit as oranges and grapefruit
    for me, if you don’t mind.

This is simply a variation — notice how such and as are separated. Separating
the two elements tends to make this pattern a bit harder to see.

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