like doing/like to do

taraa

Senior Member
Persian
"I like doing something = I do it and enjoy it
I like to do something = I think it is a good thing to do, but I don't necessarily enjoy it"

The above quote is from "Grammar in Use by Murphy". According that are #1 and #2 correct?
1. I like playing tennis. = I do it and enjoy it
2. I like to play tennis. = I think it is a good thing to do, but I don't necessarily enjoy it"
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    That isn't right in AE.

    "Like doing"means "enjoy doing". It means that in both sentences.

    "to play tennis" = "playing tennis".

    As far as I can tell, the two sentences have the same meaning: I enjoy doing it.

    Wikipedia says this book was written in 1985 in the UK. So it is about BE, not AE. I hope one of the BE speakers will comment.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks a lot dojibear!
    For you aren't the sentences below different, please?
    3. I like cleaning the kitchen.
    4. I like to clean the kitchen.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    "I like doing something = I do it and enjoy it
    I like to do something = I think it is a good thing to do, but I don't necessarily enjoy it"
    There is some truth in this in BrE. I would say, for example "I like to see my dentist twice a year", not "I like seeing my dentist twice a year". However, as we often like doing what we like to do, there is not usually a significant difference in meaning.
     

    Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    It depends.

    "I like boxing" = I enjoy it (watching on TV), but I don't do it, because
    "I don't like to box" = I think it is a good thing to do, but I don't necessarily do it (in fact, I don't do it at all)

    I'm wondering if R.Murphy would agree with such explanation.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    There is some truth in this in BrE. I would say, for example "I like to see my dentist twice a year", not "I like seeing my dentist twice a year". However, as we often like doing what we like to do, there is not usually a significant difference in meaning.
    Thank you so much :):)

    The book says #3 and #4 are different:
    3. I like cleaning the kitchen. (=I enjoy it.)
    4. I like to clean the kitchen. (=It's not my favourite job, but I like to clean the kitchen as often as possible.)

    Can you please explain how I should know they are the same ( like #1 and #2) or different (like #3 and #4)?
    It depends.

    "I like boxing" = I enjoy it (watching on TV), but I don't do it, because
    "I don't like to box" = I think it is a good thing to do, but I don't necessarily do it (in fact, I don't do it at all)

    I'm wondering if R.Murphy would agree with such explanation.
    Thank you very much :)
    But your example is different. It's in negative form, no?
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    The book says #3 and #4 are different:
    3. I like cleaning the kitchen. (=I enjoy it.)
    4. I like to clean the kitchen. (=It's not my favourite job, but I like to clean the kitchen as often as possible.)

    Can you please explain how I should know they are the same ( like #1 and #2) or different (like #3 and #4)?
    Just assume they're different, unless context makes it likely that #4 is intended to have the meaning #3 does. In real life, #4 is unlikely to be uttered without some additional idea such as 'at least once a week' or 'when I know my mother is coming'.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Just assume they're different, unless context makes it likely that #4 is intended to have the meaning #3 does. In real life, #4 is unlikely to be uttered without some additional idea such as 'at least once a week' or 'when I know my mother is coming'.
    Good explanation!
    Thank you again soooo much :)
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Just assume they're different, unless context makes it likely that #4 is intended to have the meaning #3 does. In real life, #4 is unlikely to be uttered without some additional idea such as 'at least once a week' or 'when I know my mother is coming'.
    Sorry tunaafi, can either one mean a regular activity and either one can mean an occassional activity?
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Both can be used of situations that occur quite often. We are unlikely to like doing something that we do rarely, but it's not impossible. I like/enjoy being with my son in Istanbul, but my financial situation means this doesn't happen very often.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Both can be used of situations that occur quite often. We are unlikely to like doing something that we do rarely, but it's not impossible. I like/enjoy being with my son in Istanbul, but my financial situation means this doesn't happen very often.
    Thanks a lot!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    These other posts point out that "I like <gerund>" can have more than one meaning. I agree. My earlier post was too simple. Here are some more AE comments, agreeing with the BE commments above:

    "I like boxing" is ambiguous because the gerund "boxing" is an action (without saying who is doing it) and "I like" can mean several things. So the combination often means:
    - I enjoy doing this action myself
    - I enjoy watching others do this action
    - I admire this sport: I think it is good

    "I like to box" can only mean that I enjoy doing this action myself. So it is the same as 1 of the 3 meanings of "I like boxing". Context is important.

    -----

    In the phrase "I like going to the dentist twice a year" most people mean "I prefer a schedule of twice a year, for my dentist visits." Here "like" means "prefer". They don't mean they enjoy the visits. "Like" applies to "twice a year", not to "going to the dentist".

    -----

    3. I like cleaning the kitchen. = I enjoy this activity
    4. I like to clean the kitchen. = I like the kitchen to be clean (whether or not I enjoy this activity).

    Both meanings are used in AE too. But the "enjoy" meaning is more common, even for sentence 4.

    5. I like to clean the kitchen when I'm not busy. I want a spotless kitchen when I start preparing a meal.
    6. I like to clean the kitchen when my mother is coming. She is very critical about my "home-maker" skills.

    In these examples "I like" refers to the "when". It doesn't mean I enjoy the activity.
     
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