Key Difference – Like vs Would Like in English Grammar
Like and Would like are two types of usage in English that show some similarity but more of a difference between them. First let us concentrate on the word like. This is mostly used when we want to express the idea that we enjoy doing something. For instance I like reading, gives the idea that the speaker enjoys reading. Pay attention to the structure of the sentence. The verb following the word ‘like’ is in the gerund form in most situations. However, it is necessary to highlight that it can express a desire as well. On the other hand, the word ‘would like’ is mostly used when the speaker wishes to express something that he requires. For example, I would like to talk to the supervisor. This highlights a want that the individual has. When paying attention to the word structure, you will notice that it is different from the word ‘like’. The words ‘would like’ is followed by an infinitive. This is the main difference between the two words. Through this article let us examine this difference through examples.
What is ‘Like’?
The word ‘Like’ expresses a want or something that the individual enjoys. When ‘like’ is followed by a verb then it should be taken in the sense of ‘enjoy’ as in the sentences ‘I like singing’ and ‘I like playing cricket on the beach’. In each sentence, it emphasizes the idea that the speaker enjoys the activities of singing and playing cricket.
It is interesting to note that at times ‘like’ is also used to convey the sense of ‘want’ as in the sentences:
- You may read the book when you like.
- If you like to go now, you can.
In both the sentences given above, you can see that ‘like’ is used in a sense that conveys the idea of ‘want’.
‘When paying attention to the structure of the sentence, ‘like’ is normally followed by the gerund ‘ing’ when it can suggest the sense of ‘enjoy’ as in the sentences:
- I like writing poems.
- She likes talking aloud.
In the first sentence, you get the idea of ‘I enjoy writing poems’ and in the second sentence you get the idea of ‘She enjoys talking aloud’.
What is ‘Would Like’?
‘Would is used in the sense of ‘want’ as in the sentences:
- I would like to go to the beach if time permits.
- Would you like to eat something?
In both the sentences given above ‘would like’ is used in the sense of ‘want’. You will also notice that ‘would like’ is followed by the infinitive ‘to’.
When you talk about things that you wish you had done then you could use ‘would like’ as in the sentence ‘I would like to have visited the library at least once.’ In this sentence you wished you had visited the library at least once.
When using the words ‘Like’ and ‘would like’, one should pay attention to the main idea that they wish to express. It is based on this idea that the correct word should be chosen as they are different from one another. This difference can be summarized as follows.
What is the Difference Between Like and Would like?
Definitions of Like and Would like:
Like: The word ‘Like’ expresses a want or something that the individual enjoys.
Would like: Would is used in the sense of ‘want’.
Characteristics of Like and Would like:
Like: Like is used when speaking of an activity that the individual enjoys or else for wants.
Would like: Would like is primarily used for wants.
Like: Like is followed by a gerund when speaking of activities of interest.
Would like: Would like is followed by an infinitive.
2. Food sits on a table at a reception hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation in Alameda, Calif., April 24, 2013 130424-G-VG516-027 By Petty Officer 2nd Class Annie R.B. Elis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons