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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

english usage: I like +to verb or I like +verb(ing)?

this is going to be my first question. thanks a lot in advance for your time and attention.

here it goes:

I understand most americans use expressions like "I like to play" and "I like playing" interchangeably.

but aparently in england they do not and i really dont understand the diference.

ive look it up and in england the general usage is "i like + ing" and "I like +to verb" is more restricted in meaning.

ive seen this example:

I like cooking ( i enjoy that activity)

I like to cook beef on sundays ( why here they use the "to"?)

i dont understand it.

or " when i go to someones room i like to knock on the door" here it means ( i think its the right thing to do) which is straightforward and i get it)

could someone explain this difference in meaning to me becouse i dont really get it.


4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I like cooking and I like to cook could mean the same thing to me as you said, and I am an American.

    But "I like to do something" can also have other meanings that cannot be expressed with "I like -ing."

    The example you give is expressing a preference. You first example may mean it isn't chicken that you prefer to cook on Sunday, but beef. It may actually be a response to someone saying that she makes chicken on Sunday or someone saying that you shouldn't ever eat red fatty beef. The second example is saying that you don't think it is a good idea to just walk in the door, but instead prefer to knock first.

    In most languages words/phrases usually don't have exactly the same meanings (no matter what you thesaurus tells you). Meanings may overlap, but there is usually some differences.

    The real problem is that when you try to understand the meaning of isolated sentences like this, you give yourself an almost impossible job because in reality no one says these sentences out of nowhere, but in response to something. You need the context to understand what is meant.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think you need to be careful when you say 'most Americans'. Remember we Americans (that's me!, well, that is I? LOL) may have brought the English language over from England and sort of forced it on the rest of the new country (although we almost spoke German). Still, being rebels =) and spreading out over such a large area our usage of the language changed, in some cases dramatically.

    If you put someone from Boston, Massachusetts, someone from San Francisco, California, someone from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and someone from Grand Forks, North Dakota in a room together you will find that although they all speak 'english' they will have some definite communication issues.

    I'm a military wife and I have become something of a student of the language quirks of different areas of the states. My favorite is one I encountered in Texas -

    "I'm fixing to go to the store." Huh? I still smile whenever I hear this (I live in Texas now). Where I grew up if you were 'fixing' something, it was broke and you were repairing it. But here in the South, fixing can also mean 'preparing' as in 'I am getting ready'.

    I guess my point is, that language varies with time and distance. My examples were of variations within the U.S. but you can imagine the drastic variations with an ocean between two populations speaking the 'same' language.

    Hope it helped.


  • 1 decade ago

    grammatically like +ing is the correct one to say but the americans speak differently from the english so they prefer to use either like +ing or like +to+verb

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not English myself, but both are right and both mean exactly the same according to grammar books.

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