feel like, would like to, want to

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easychen

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,
What is the difference between the following three sentences:

(1) I feel like doing something great.
(2) I would like to do something great.
(3) I want to do somgthing great.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Hi,
    What is the difference between the following three sentences:

    This is my slightly jaded take on these statements.

    (1) I feel like doing something great. You can be great any time you want, but today, you are in the mood to do something great.
    (2) I would like to do something great. You would enjoy doing something great, but it is unlikely that you ever will.
    (3) I want to do something great. You have a strong desire to do something great. Perhaps your ambition or hard work will allow you to do something great.

    Thanks in advance!
     

    easychen

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It is interesting, Cypher!

    - When you "want to" or "would like to" do something, can you not be "in the mood"?

    - I agree "feel like" means "being in the mood," or "of my own accord." But I'm not sure it can mean "whatever I do, I can make it".

    -To me, "would like to" simply has less desire than "want to," but it is also likely.

    More comments are welcome!:)
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Any statement indicating that you are going to take some action is invalidated if you need to be "in the mood." You could want, would want, would feel like, intend to, wish to or desire to do something but it would be obvious that you do not mean what you claim if you add, "when I get in the mood."
     

    MichaelW

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    Maybe a difference in volition

    I feel like - casual, I am in the mood but my mood may change

    I would like to - tentative, implying a "but" or "if" clause to follow

    I want to - I will it

    "I feel like being a novelist" (and tomorrow I'll feel like being a fighter pilot)

    "I would like to be a novelist" (but I am too lazy / if only I had the talent etc)

    "I want to be a novelist" (that is what I intend to be, even though it may not be possible).
     
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    easychen

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Again, it's interesting!

    My guide books tell me that "feel like doing something" means you' ll take action this very minute, while "want to do something" means you'll do it in the future. So, "feel like" is more "active" than "want to."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't think "doing something great" is a good example to illustrate any differences between these expressions. It's ambiguous.
    It may depend on the significance of the activity. MichaelW's example - being a novelist - is big, life changing. I wonder what happens with a more simple example.
    (1) I feel like having pizza for lunch.
    (2) I would like to have pizza for lunch.
    (3) I want to have pizza for lunch.

    The first two indicate a preference. (1) is weaker than (2).
    (3) is much stronger - it sounds as if there is a major tantrum on the way if pizza is not provided.

    I think that matches quite closely what MichaelW said :)

    Looking at easychen's book's suggestion that "feel like" is more immediate than "want" ...
    I think it depends entirely on the context. There is nothing inherent in "feel like" that makes it more or less immediate than "want" or "would like".
     

    easychen

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    (3) is much stronger - it sounds as if there is a major tantrum on the way if pizza is not provided.
    Oh really? Any chance it might be an AE/BE issue?

    On a much related note, are the three phrases above interchangable in the following context?:
    Bathed in sun light, I feel twice as alive and feel like doing something great.
     

    MichaelW

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    1) Bathed in sun light, I feel twice as alive and feel like doing something great.
    2) Bathed in sun light, I feel twice as alive and would like to do something great.
    3) Bathed in sun light, I feel twice as alive and want to doing something great.

    As panjandrum said, 1 is weaker than 2 is weaker then 3. 1 is a description of your feelings; 2 is a conditional - I would... but/if/when; 3 is a decision.

    "feel like doing something" means you' ll take action this very minute
    You are describing your emotional state at the moment. It doesn't mean you intend to do anything about it.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    There is ambiguity with any of these, and they may mean much the same thing in this context:

    1. Bathed in sunlight, I feel twice as alive and (feel) like doing something great.
    1a. I am physically and mentally ready to do something great.
    1b. I am inclined to do something great.
    1c. Doing something great appeals to me, based on how I feel.
    1d. Any combination of 1a-1c.

    2. Bathed in sunlight, I feel twice as alive and (I) want to do something great.
    2a. I desire to do something great.
    2b. I am inclined to do something great.

    3. Bathed in sunlight, I feel twice as alive and (I) would like to do something great.
    3a. I want to do something great. [A softened assertion]
    3b. If certain conditions are met, I want to do something great.
    3c. If certain conditions were met, I would enjoy doing something great.
     
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