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    #1

    like a child

    Can one say
    a. He was talking to me like a child.
    b. He was talking to me like to a child.
    c. He was talking to me as to a child.

    ?

    (a) could mean that he was talking like a child to me. But could it mean the same thing as (c)? Is it ambiguous? I think people use it that way, but I am not sure that would be considered correct in formal English.


    Many thanks.

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    #2

    Re: like a child

    Not a teacher

    b) and c) sound strange; I would say, "He was talking to me like I was a child"

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: like a child

    I would say 'He was talking to me as if I were a child', but I am not a teacher.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: like a child

    I agree, Matthew.

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    #5

    Re: like a child

    a. He was talking to me like .a child

    (a) could mean that he was talking like a child to me.
    To mean it only means that he was talking like a child to me.

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    #6

    Re: like a child

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Perhaps some older books can shed some light on this matter.

    If (if!) I understand one of my favorite books, the problem may be that nowadays the word "like" is considered a preposition even though it is actually an adjective or adverb.

    The boss talks to his employees like children.

    We all understand what that means. No problem.

    If we were to analyze that sentence, that "old" book might presumably parse it like this:

    The = adjective / determiner.

    boss = noun.

    talks = verb.

    to his employees = prepositional phrase that modifies the verb "talks."

    like = adverb (modifies the verb "talks." Means something like "similarly").

    unto = the "understood" preposition that is no longer used in current English (except maybe in poetry).

    children = noun (the object of the preposition "unto").

    THEREFORE:

    "The boss talks to his employees like [unto] children." (Native speakers NO longer use "unto." It is used only when diagramming a sentence.)


    If my explanation is grammatically correct, then 100% credit goes to Homer House and Susan Harman in their Descriptive English Grammar (copyright in 1931 and 1950).
    Last edited by TheParser; 27-Sep-2015 at 14:17.

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