Unit 54. Infinitive or -ing? (1) – like, would like, etc.

like hate can’t bear love can’t stand

After these verbs and expressions you can use -ing or the infinitive.

  • I like getting up early, or I like to get up early.

  • I love meeting people, or I love to meet people.

  • I hate washing dishes, or I hate to wash dishes.

  • She can’t stand being alone, or She can’t stand to be alone.

  • He can’t bear living in the city, or He can’t bear to live in the city.


    dislike enjoy mind

    After these verbs you can use -ing, but not the infinitive:

  • I enjoy being alone, {not enjoy to be)

  • Why do you dislike living here? (not dislike to live)

  • Tom doesn’t mind working at night, (not mind to work)

    Would like is followed by the infinitive:

  • I would like to be rich.

  • Would you like to come to a party?

    Notice the difference in meaning between I like and I would like. I would like is a polite way of saying I want. Compare:

  • I like playing tennis, or I like to play tennis. (= enjoy it in general)

  • I would like to play tennis today. (= I want to play) See also Unit 30.

    We also use the infinitive after would love/hate/prefer:

  • Would you prefer to have dinner now or later?

  • I’d love to be able to travel around the world.

    You can also say “I would like to have done something” (= I regret that I didn’t or couldn’t do something):

  • It’s too bad we didn’t visit Tom. I would like to have seen him again.

  • We’d like to have taken a vacation, but we didn’t have enough money. The same structure is possible after would love/hate/prefer:

  • Poor Jim! I would hate to have been in his position.

  • I’d love to have gone to the party, but it was impossible.

  • We went to a restaurant but I didn’t enjoy it. I’d prefer to have eaten at home.

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