this is a sentence on housing from economist.com
To argue that low nominal interest rates make buying a home cheaper is like arguing that a car loan paid off over four years is cheaper than one repaid over two years.
do you think the use of "like" is ok here... i think "similar to" will be
this is a sentence from an IMF report...
Short-term real interest rates declined more quickly and by larger amounts than usual in the United States and, to a lesser extent,
do you think that the comparison is ok here..
do we need than " is" usual instead of than usual.
1) I don't think "like" and "similar to" are interchangable. More analogous comparisons such as this one, IMO "like" should be used when the analogy in strong, and "similar to" when it is not so strong. IMO, something can be "similar to" but "unlike" something else.
As a aside, IMO the statement quoted is stupid whether one uses "llike" or "similar to". A loan with a lower nominal rate is certainly "cheaper" than a loan with a higher rate all else being equal. However, extending the payments period, all else being equal, while certainly reducing the payments, may or may not reduce the cost of the loan (depends on lots of stuff like inflation, etc.). These are NOT comparible and hence, IMO, the sentence is dumb.
2) IMO, the two are "mostly" interchangeable, although i would tend to use "more than usual" when comparing "action" and "more than is usual" when comparising a quantity or extent. Having said that, "is usual" seems to be better is followed by a prepositional phrase.
It rained more than usual last week.
It rained more than is usual for this time of year.
The rain created more havoc than is usual for this time of year.
Former Senior Instructor, Manhattan GMAT and VeritasPrep
Vice President, Midtown NYC Investment Bank, Structured Finance IT
MFE, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, Class of 2005
MBA, Anderson School of Management, UCLA, Class of 1993