I like playing volleyball / I like to play volleyball

sunnyweather

Senior Member
Polish
#1
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.
 
English - the Queen's
#2
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.
 

velisarius

Senior Member
British English (Sussex)
#3
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)
#5
:) 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
 
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