He can't like to play chess with me

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Sun14, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Hello, my friends,

    I was wondering whether we could use it and whether it is idiomatic:

    "He can't like to play chess with me."

    Thoughts and context: I told my friend my option that he won't like to play chess with me. This is my assumption and I am confident to say that.
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    You won't like playing chess with me – I'm terrible.
     
  3. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Thank you. What do you mean by this?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    What do I mean by what? You said you're talking to the person, so I used "you." And you can't just say, "You won't like playing chess with me" without telling the person why.
     
  5. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Here I refer to he as my another friend Tom so I just guess he won't come.
     
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Now I have to ask what you mean?

    To tell Tom about Bill, you can say to Tom, "He won't like playing chess with me." But without a reason – unless it's a reason that Tom already knows about, such as you're terrible or you're a grandmaster, then you need some sort of reason to follow.
     
  7. Truffula

    Truffula Senior Member

    English - USA
    If you say "He can't like to play chess with me," (although it sounds more natural as "he can't like playing chess with me" the infinitive form is fine, just less commonly used) it means you think, based on some evidence, that he (Tom, I guess, in this case) does not like playing chess with you. For it to make sense, Tom must have played chess with you already.

    So, for example, if you and Tom played chess and he was frowning the whole time and then the next time you invited him to play chess, he declined the invitation, you could say to your friend, "Tom can't like playing chess with me."

    But in the example you gave, you said "... he won't like to play chess with me. This is my assumption and I am confident to say that." (You wrote "my option" but I think, from context, you must have meant "my opinion"... right?)

    That sentence sounds like you and Tom have not yet played chess, but you assume he won't enjoy it if you do. For that, you have to say, as Copyright already explained, "He won't like playing chess with me." (or, possibly, "He won't like to play chess with me." same issue as above with the participle vs infinitive forms) You can't use "can't" when you mean "won't" in this case...
     
  8. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    If I add the reasons after that may I use can't?
     
  9. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Got it. If I am subjectively and objectively sure he won't like that, I can use can't, right?
     
  10. Barque Senior Member

    India
    Tamil
    Could you please tell your reason? Why do you think your friend won't enjoy playing chess with you?
     
  11. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Maybe he is afraid of losing to me, since I am a master.
     
  12. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    Indiana
    English - US
    I think the problem is that "...can't like something" is just very rarely used. You either like something or you don't. Whether or not you like something is your opinion, and you're entitled to have an opinion, so who can tell you what you can and cannot like?

    "He can't like to play chess with me" is perfectly grammatical, but it sounds wrong, at least without a lot of explanation. We just don't usually phrase it that way.
     
  13. Truffula

    Truffula Senior Member

    English - USA
    If you're sure (objectively or subjectively) he won't like it, you use "won't" and not "can't."

    If you're sure (objectively, and also maybe subjectively) he doesn't like it, you use "doesn't" and not "can't."

    If you feel sure (subjectively, but not objectively) he doesn't like it, you use either "can't" or "doesn't."
     
  14. Barque Senior Member

    India
    Tamil
    I see. Thanks for the clarification.
    I suggest:
    He won't want to play against/with me.
    He won't want to play me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  15. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Another option: 'He won't enjoy playing chess with me'.
    This means he will not like experiencing the difference in strength.
     
  16. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Thanks for all your kind replies.
     

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