One-Point English Lesson: Using Like

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I like NYC at night!

I like NYC at night!

The word like has a few different uses in English. Do you know how to use them? Take a look at the paragraph below and then check out this lesson.

I like pizza a lot. My friends say I like it too much. I like to eat thin crust pizza. There is one pizzeria I like to go to in Soho called Lombardi’s. There is no other pizza in New York like Lombardi’s pizza. I don’t know if it is like real pizza from Italy, but it is very good. Are you like me? Do you like pizza too?

Like is a stative verb. Stative verbs show a state or condition, as opposed to an action. Some other examples are love, remember, imagine, etc. These verbs are not used in the progressive form.

  • I like pizza. (Not: I am liking pizza.)
  • I love you! (Not: I am loving you.)

There is one exception, and it comes from McDonalds. For the past ten years or so, the fast food chain has used “I’m lovin’ it” as their marketing catch phrase. Of course, this is not correct English grammar, but because it is not, it has been a very effective marketing tool for them! Now, let’s get back to like.

Generally, we use like with an object. For example:

  • Jack: Do you like pirates?
  • Angela: Yes, I like them. (Not: Yes, I like.)

When we talk about things we enjoy doing, we use like + VerbING. It is also possible to use like + to + verb.

  • I like singing or I like to sing.(Not: I like sing.)
  • Jenny likes shopping or Jenny likes to shop.
  • Frank likes waking up early or Frank likes to wake up early.

We can use [would + like + to + verb] or [would + like + object] as a polite way to ask for something we want, and for polite invitations/offers.

Waiter: May I take your order?

Tommy: Yes, thanks. I’d like to have the steak (or: I’d like the steak)

  • Would you like to go to a club tonight?
  • Would you like a cup of coffee?

Like is also used as a preposition to show similarity:

  • Brenda is just like her mother = Brenda is similar to her mother.
  • This alligator steak tastes like chicken = The alligator steak has a taste similar to chicken.

Be careful not to confuse the two forms of like:

  • I like you. = I enjoy being with you and I am happy we are friends.
  • I am like you. = I think my personality is similar to yours.

Now it’s your turn. How about trying to write an original sentence using some of the above patterns. Use the comment box below!



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Thanks for studying today!

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