Most students express a lot of confusion with the word like because it has many different meaning depending on the context. Hopefully we can help you to understand the differences between like and would like.
Let’s look at some examples:
A) I would like to go to the movies tonight.
B) I like science fiction movies.
In example A, we are using would like to refer to offers or requests. In example B, we are using like to refer to interests and preferences.
In the following exercise, determine whether the sentence is referring to offers and requests or interests and preferences. The answers are listed at the end of the post.
1.) I’d (I would) a cup of tea please.
2.) Would you like roast chicken?
3.) Do you like rock music?
4.) I like classical music.
When we use a verb after the words would like, we use the infinitive of the verb with to. Example: I would like to go dancing. Would you like to eat at this restaurant?
After we use the word like to express interest or preferences, we can use either to or -ing. Example: My family likes to stay home on Saturdays. My family likes staying home on Saturdays.
Answers to the Exercise
1.) I’d (I would) a cup of tea please. (Request or offer)
2.) Would you like roast chicken? (Request or offer)
3.) Do you like rock music? (Preference or interest)
4.) I like classical music. (Preference or interest)