I belong to a generation that remembers the Winston television ad:
Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.
English teachers everywhere in the United States had fits over that ad, but evidence was mustered that plenty of precedent existed for the use of like as a conjunction by recognized masters of English prose, including another “Winston”
We are overrun with them, like Australians were with rabbits. –Winston Churchill
Some people may continue to condemn the usage as “vulgar or slovenly,” but for the most part it has achieved respectability.
But what about the development of like if used in place of as if?
I’ve found numerous examples on the web, all of them preceded by the word just:
Just like if you were brought up on a farm, you would most likely carry on your father’s business as a farmer…
Just like if there is all of a sudden a demand for product X
it is just like if I bring a large statue and break it down into millions of billions of pieces
if you look for patterns, you’ll find them, just like if you spill a bunch of M&Ms on the floor
Run forward and bounce off from the balls of your feet, just like if you were doing a front flip layout.
This little croc had the neatest enclosure, just like if he were in the wild
If you hate Math, and openly show it, Math will not work for you because you will not let it, just like if you openly taunted and hated a gorilla…
I think the use of the word “just” may be provoking the inappropriate “like” in these examples because we are so used to the phrase “just like.” I suspect that if these writers had not used the word “just,” they may have gone for “as if.”
This little croc had the neatest enclosure, as if he were in the wild
One can never predict the direction that language will take.
For the present, like if takes its place on my list of expressions that induce blackboard moments.