I like playing volleyball / I like to play volleyball

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.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    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..."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    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:

    I like reading books. = I like to read books.
    There is normally no difference in meaning.

    • Use the Gerund when like is used in the sense of 'enjoy'.
      Example: I like riding my bike.
    • Use the Infinitive when you do sth. in the sense of a habit.
      Example: I like to do my homework in the afternoon. (I think, it is good to do my homework in the afternoon).
    • Gerund and infinitive after verbs - different meaning
     
    Last edited:
    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).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top