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  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
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    -ing forms or infinitive

    Dear teachers,

    The following is quoted from Practical English Usage, Michael Swan.

    like,love,hate and prefer
    After these four verbs, both infinitives and -ing forms can often be used without a great difference of meaning.

    I hate working/to work at weekends.

    Like + infinitive is used to talk about choices and habits. Compare:

    I like climbing/to climb mountains(=I enjoy climbing.)
    When I pour tea I like to put the milk in first. (=I choose to, it's my habits.)

    I am confused with the above difference of meaning. When we say " I like to swim", are we talking about the pleasure (i.e I enjoy) or choices and habits?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    English Teacher
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    Re: -ing forms or infinitive

    "I like to swim" could mean both but I would take "enjoyment" as the main meaning. If it were "I like to swim three times a week" then I would understand "I try to go three times a week". It does not necessarily mean that the person enjoys swimming. It's possible that they have been told that it is very good exercise so they go three times a week. They have decided that three times a week is the optimum frequency, perhaps.

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