23. Likes and dislikes

A. Likes

Liking may be expressed in one of the following ways:

I like.. (very much) – the most widely used form, the least emotional.

Note that the gerund is much more common than the infinitive when expressing general liking. The infinitive can occur here but is more often used:

  1. to express a wish of the moment after should/ would
  2. to express the idea of the advisability, wisdom of doing something

Quite with like means moderately, less than very much.

Rather expresses a greater degree of liking, close to very much. In both cases the verb usually carries greater stress than the adverb.

I love… - sometimes used colloquially to mean like very much, particularly by women.

As with like, the infinitive usually refers to a particular desire.

I enjoy - more emotional than like, more explicitly expressing a feeling of pleasure. Followed by a noun or gerund.

Enjoy is especially common with reference to particular occasions, in contrast to general liking.

Do/ did, quite and rather may also include

I am rather/ very fond of…

I am quite/ rather/ very keen on… - expresses enthusiasm, an active liking. Generally quite, rather or very is included. Particularly common with gerunds functioning as nouns.

I am mad about/ on… - expresses great (sometimes unreasonable, excessive) enthusiasm. Colloquial.

Just or absolutely may be added as intensifiers.

I am crazy about…

B. Dislikes

I dislike… - formal style

I don’t (much) like…

I don’t like… very much/ at all.

However, these forms may be too abrupt for some situations, especially when addressing people one does not know well. One of the following phrases is often preferable, being milder and therefore more tactful.

I am not very/ too/ particularly keen on…

I am not all that keen on…

The following forms express strong dislike and should therefore be used with care.

I hate/ detest/ loathe… - given here in order of increasing strength/

I can’t bear/ stand…- colloquial. Stand is slightly more colloquial than bear.

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