I was able to understand what you meant. That was why I drew your attention to the nuances involved. As a dancer can dance on the floor (while learning) or on the stage (while performing in public), I modified your sentence as below:
She began to dance like a professional dancer on the stage.
She began to dance as a professional dancer on the stage.
Now note this:
Sentence 1 indicates that she is a normal dancer, but she has begun to dance so well as a professional dancer (does/dances). In other words, she dances as though she is a professional dancer.
Sentence 2 indicates that she was a dancer, giving normal/amateur performances. Now she has turned a professional dancer. In other words, she is a professional dancer and dances so now.
Now look at these two sentences though there is a comparison (simile):
We live like a family.
We live as a family.
The second imports more intimacy or intensity of relationship though they are not the actual members of the same family in both the cases.
I think you have consulted OALD. But, it is very difficult to understand the nuance from OALD. You have used ‘Like’ as prep. and ‘As’ as conj. and you have just transformed the sentences. I want to know what is wrong, if any, with the above sentences of mine and why? Again I would ask Alan to intervene.
I believe Anglophile does NOW understand what you mean, though this was NOT clear in his original message.
It does not matter whether the dancer is on the stage or the floor.
She began to dance like a professional dancer (dances) (on the stage).
She began to dance as a professional dancer (on the stage).
The only problem with your original sentence 2 is that the term ‘dances’ should NOT be used. (She became a professional dancer - no following verb is necessary.)
This is what caused the misunderstanding. By including that term in 2, you give the impression that you just wish to compare similes.
I don’t think Anglophile can have appreciated that fact.
I seem to recall that Alan often takes a holiday around this time of year. I suspect it will be a week or so before he revisits the forum.
To be fair, you didn’t ask for anything of the sort in your original post.
If the following definitions are not what you are after, please provide the specific definitions of ‘like’ and ‘as’ (as conjunctions) that you want us to consider.
like - in the same way as
as - in the way in which
She began to dance like a professional dancer (would dance).
She began to dance as a professional dancer would (dance).
I’m sorry, Souba. What you say doesn’t make much sense to me now.
(I can, at the most, say that there is a growing tendency to use the two words interchangeably as in: like he said for as he said. This is, perhaps, what I can guess and gather from what you might mean).
In the meantime I have consulted several books and got my answer from Practical English Usage (Michel Swan). The use of ‘Like’ as conjunction is American style and thus, informal in British English, which you find in older editions of OALD. However, in the newer editions of OALD, ‘like’ has been accepted as Conj. and can be used interchangeably with ‘As’. Thanks.
What the following suggests appears to have escaped your notice.
Anyhow, the 2009 Edition of The Good Grammar Book by Michael Swan & Catherine Walter illustrates the the use of ‘as’ as formal. However, BrE has begun to accept much of AmE now. This really obviates many possible confusions.