Like + Verb-ING – Like + Infinitive – Enjoy + Verb-ING

Infinitives

Before we look at like + verb-ing, we need to learn about infinitives.

  • I want to sleep.

How many verbs are here?
There are two verbs. Verb 1. want and Verb 2. sleep.

The verb sleep has the word TO before it. This means the verb is in its infinitive form: to sleep.
To + verb is called an infinitive. To sleep is an infinitive.

Normally when two verbs are together, the second verb (verb number 2) is in its infinitive form.
In the original sentence, the second verb, sleep, is in its infinitive form: to sleep.

Another example:

  • I need to study.

There are two verbs in this sentence. Verb 1. need and Verb 2. study.
The second verb is in its infinitive form… TO study.

  • He wants to travel.

The second verb (travel) needs to be in its infinitive form (to travel). He wants TO travel.

This is the general rule about two verbs together and there are some exceptions like with modal verbs but we will see this in another lesson.

Verbs after LIKE

With the verb LIKE there are two ways of putting a verb after it.
You can say:

  • I like to sleep. (This is like + infinitive – which we have already seen)

But with the verb LIKE, we frequently use a verb ending in ING after it.

  • I like sleeping.

Sleeping is a verb ending in ING.
Another example. You can say:

  • I like to eat chocolate. …. OR you can say …
  • I like eating chocolate.

Is there a difference?
In general there isn’t a difference in meaning, though we sometimes use the infinitive (TO + VERB) to talk about habits or choices.

  • I like to eat chocolate for breakfast.
    (This is my habit or my choice).
  • I like eating chocolate.
    (This is more about what I like doing in general)

However, using a VERB+ING is more common than using an infinitive.

Love, Enjoy, Don’t Like, Hate + Verb-ing

  • I like sleeping.

This is an example of the verb like + verb ending in ING.
This rule of LIKE + Verb-ING also applies to other similar “liking” verbs such as:
Love, enjoy, don’t like, hate.
Note: don’t like is just the negative form of like.

  • I love reading in bed at night.
  • I enjoy playing video games.
  • I don’t like getting up early.
  • I hate washing the dishes.

Using a verb-ing after these verbs sound more natural.
In general we prefer to use the verb-ing after like, love or hate.

BUT…. with the verb ENJOY, if there is a verb after it, we can only use a VERB-ING and NOT an infinitive.

Enjoy + verb-ing

  • We enjoy playing cards.

After enjoy we have the verb ending in ING, in this case playing. We CANNOT say:

  • We enjoy to play cards. (This is NOT correct).

It is NOT possible to use enjoy + an infinitive.
Another example:

  • He enjoys going to the cinema.

enjoy + verb-ing, in this case going. This is correct.
We do NOT say:

  • He enjoys TO GO to the cinema. … This is NOT correct!

Enjoy + Verb-ING - English Grammar Rules

Negative sentences with LIKE + Verb-ING

To make negative sentences we use the rules of DON’T and DOESN’T before like.

  • I like writing essays. … becomes …
    I don’t like writing essays.
  • He likes mowing the lawn. … becomes …
    He doesn’t like mowing the lawn.

Remember there is no S at the end of the verb in negative sentences and questions.

More examples of negative sentences with like + verb-ing:

  • I don’t like waiting.
  • He doesn’t like eating spinach.
  • They don’t like going to the doctor.
  • She doesn’t like cleaning the house.

Questions with LIKE + Verb-ING

To make questions we use the rules of DO and DOES at the beginning of the question.

  • They like playing chess.

To make a question with they we use DO at the beginning, so it becomes…

  • Do they like playing chess?

Another example:

  • She likes baking cakes.

To make a question with she we use DOES at the beginning, so it becomes…

  • Does she like baking cakes?

Remember there is no S at the end of the verb in negative sentences and questions.

More examples of questions with like + verb-ing:

  • Do you like blowing bubbles?
  • Do they like taking selfies?
  • Does John like listening to music?
  • Does your grandmother like going to the gym?

Summary Chart

LIKE + Verb-ING vs. LIKE + Infinitive - English Grammar Rules

Answer these questions:

  • What are three things you like doing?
  • What is one thing you don’t like doing?
Lesson tags: Affirmative sentences, Like, Negative, Present Tense, Questions, Verbs, Vocabulary
Back to: English Course > Simple Present Tense

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