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'Like to' and 'Like + - ing'

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ESL Forum | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
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'Like to' and 'Like + - ing' #1 (permalink) Mon Nov 07, 2005 0:15 am   'Like to' and 'Like + - ing'

I would like to know in which cases do we use like + to and like + ing. can we say:
I like to play football.
I like playing football.

do the sentences have the same meaning?

Like/to like+ing #2 (permalink) Mon Nov 07, 2005 0:55 am   Like/to like+ing

Hi Vanesa,

Have a look at this answer I gave the other week:


Hi Spearhead,

Unfortunately there are verbs that can take either, others can only be followed by the infinitive and yet again verbs followed by the gerund only. Life is difficult! I would however recommend a grammar book originally published some 45 years ago and still available: A Practical English Grammar by A J Thomson and A V Martinet published by Oxford University Press, in which you will find the lists of verbs and also lots of other useful information. The general difference between infinitive and gerund after verbs that can take either is that the infinitive is often specific and the gerund often general. Compare these two:

I like swimming.
I like to swim when the weather is really hot.

Hope this helps.

In your question the same would apply: I like to play football is more specific than I like playing football but the meaning is roughly the same.

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Infinitive vs Gerund #3 (permalink) Tue Nov 08, 2005 20:41 pm   Infinitive vs Gerund

Hello, Alan!

if I have understood you correctly, infinitive underlines the fact, whereas gerund emphasizes on the process. Am I right?

Thank you in advance.
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Sidle Jinks
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'Like to' and 'Like + - ing' #4 (permalink) Wed Jul 21, 2010 23:38 pm   'Like to' and 'Like + - ing'

Hi Sidle Jinks,

As Alan said, 'like to swim' is more specific and is followed by additional information while 'like swimming' indicates a more general preference.

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