I love to have vs having

Discussion in 'English Only' started by melmrv, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. melmrv

    melmrv Member

    Good morning all,

    Lifelines Pre-Intermediate by T. Hutchinson: I love to have a good time. I love travelling.

    Could somebody please explain what the difference is between this expression vs I love having a good time and I love travelling?

    Much appreciated!
  2. MuttQuad

    MuttQuad Senior Member

    New York, NY
    English - AmE
    "I love to have a good time" and "I love having a good time" are just two variant ways you can say the same thing. You could also, for example, equally say "I love to travel" as "I love travelling." English has a lot of flexibility in this respect -- where you can say the same thing correctly in more than one way, with the choice being the author's.
  3. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I see a difference, at least in nuance, that is hard to describe.

    The infinitive suggests a person making a decision: Do I want to do this, or do I want to do that?

    But the gerund suggests a person in the act of doing something, having an experience.

    So "I love having a good time" means something like "I enjoy good times", but "I love to have a good time" is more anticipatory, meaning something like "I enjoy the chance to have a good time".

    In this light "I enjoy to have a good time" sounds really weird, because enjoyment is, by nature, experiential, and "I want having a good time" sounds weird because want is, by nature, anticipatory.

    Love is, by nature, both experiential and anticipatory, so when we say "I love to have a good time" we may be referring to anticipation of the repetition of an experience.

    In other words, with some verbs, such as love, the meaning of the infinitive and that of the gerund may overlap, making the choice almost random, but with other verbs, such as enjoy and want, the difference in meaning can force one selection only.

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