I like playing volleyball / I like to play volleyball

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sunnyweather, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. sunnyweather Senior Member

    Polish
    Hello,

    I'd like to ask you whether both verb forms are correct in the follwing example:

    At the weekend I like playing volleyball / I like to play volleyball with my dad.

    It seems to me that 'to play' is better here, but I suppose that both could be used. Am I right?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    You are right, sunnyweather. Both verb forms can be used, and I don't think one is better than the other, as there's no difference in meaning here.
     
  3. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    You asked about this in another thread, sunnyweather, but I think my remarks about "like to do/like doing" are more appropriate here:

    It's a peculiarity of the verb "like" that there can sometimes be a slight change of meaning when we use the infinitive.

    1 I like to have the house clean and tidy when I am expecting guests for dinner.:tick:
    2 I like having the house clean and tidy when I am expecting guests for dinner.:thumbsdown:

    In this context, "I like to.." means something like "I try to/I aim to/I am rather fussy about this..."

    3. I like to squeeze in a half hour at the gym after work when I can.:tick:
    4. I like squeezing in a half hour at the gym after work when I can.:thumbsdown:

    Here, "I like to..." means roughly "If possible, I will try to..."
     
  4. johngiovanni

    johngiovanni Senior Member

    That's strange, velisarius. I see no difference in meaning between 1 and 2 or between 3 and 4 in your post.
     
  5. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    :) OK, let's try this pair:

    I like to keep my private and my public lives quite separate.:tick:

    meaning "It's my policy to..."

    I like keeping my public and private lives quite separate.
    :thumbsdown: I enjoy doing it?

    Edit: I just found something to back me up to some degree (they call it a gerund, but they mean "-ing form") They call it a "habit", but I'm not sure I agree with that explanation. It's something I always try to do, because I think it's beneficial or the proper thing to do - it's not really about enjoyment at all:

     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  6. johngiovanni

    johngiovanni Senior Member

    There are some verbs which need to be followed by an infinitive and some which need to be followed by a gerund in the object of a sentence.
    See 5 Simple Rules to Master the Use of Gerunds and Infinitives | FluentU English
    "Like" is not one of them.
    "I like to see her every day" / "I like seeing her every day. I usually catch the train so that I can be at her place by midday." (I see no basic difference in the meaning).
     

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