Like to or like + ing

jolishe

Senior Member
spanish
Hello! How are you? I would like to ask a question. Is there any difference in meaning between like to +verb and like +ing? I've read in many English books that the former is used when we talk about a habit and the later is used to talk about sth we enjoy. But when I hear native speakers using them I can't tell the difference. Is this a British vs American thing? Is it more common in writing than in speaking? I hope someone can help me with my doubt. Thanks in advance!
 
  • jolishe

    Senior Member
    spanish
    I've read the other threads. Apparently people agree to disagree. I was wondering if it was a British x American thing.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not that I have noticed, but there is sometimes a difference in meaning, which I think all native speakers agree on. such as
    • I like to sing.
      This can only mean that the speaker likes doing it themselves
    • I like singing.
      This might mean that the speaker likes to sing, but it could mean that they like listening to other people sing, or that they like vocal music but not orchestral music, for example.
     

    jolishe

    Senior Member
    spanish
    Not that I have noticed, but there is sometimes a difference in meaning, which I think all native speakers agree on. such as
    • I like to sing.
      This can only mean that the speaker likes doing it themselves
    • I like singing.
      This might mean that the speaker likes to sing, but it could mean that they like listening to other people sing, or that they like vocal music but not orchestral music, for example.
    Thank you for your help Uncle Jack🙂
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    1 I like riding my bike.
    2 I like to do my homework in the afternoon.


    There's a difference in meaning there.
    2 Sometimes we use like + to infinitive when we mean that this is something we are in the habit of doing because it works for us, (even though it may not be enjoyable at all). I prefer to do my homework in the afternoon...and have the evening free.
     
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