Thursday, January 26

Like vs. Would like - The Very Wide Gap

When I ask students about the meaning of “Would like,” they always say the same thing:

It’s a polite expression.

Yes, this is true.

But “Would like” has another, deeper meaning that most non-native speakers of English don’t know. 

And if you want to understand the real meaning of “Would like,” first you have to know the difference between “Like” and “Want”...

Try to answer this:

           QUESTION: What's the difference between “Like” and “Want”? 

A.     “Want” is stronger than “Like

B.     “Like” is more polite than “Want

C.     “Want” and “Would like” are the same

D.     I’m not sure. / I don’t know. 

| |

| |

| |

| |


If your answer is AB or D, please study Lesson 3: The Real Deal Behind “I like” and “I want” first. Then, come back here.

If your answer is C, Congratulations! You are right. 


As a matter of fact, 

the expressions “Want” and “Would like” have very similar meanings. The only difference is that “Want” is casual and “Would like” is formal / more polite.
Aside from this difference, “Want” and “Would 

like” can be used in the same situation.


Like this:

Maybe you can feel it: All the sentences above talk about a specific or exact situation (now or in the future).

So you can use “Want” or “Would like.” Either of them is OK.

On the other hand, it is impossible to use “Like” this way.


Remember: “Like” and “Would like” are not the same.

Want” and “Would like” are similar. But “Like” is different from them.

As a matter of fact, “Like” is used in these situations:

            Ex.       I like apples. (always)

                        I like movies. (sometimes)

                        I like to take a nap. (every afternoon)

                        I like to eat a sandwich. (every morning)

Like” can not be used to talk about an exact time or 


            Ex.       I like noodles today. (X)

                        I like to go bowling tomorrow. (X)


Well, it's one common wrong idea that learners have. When they put "Like” together with the other words – “Want” and “Would like” – the words look very similar, so they think they all have the same meaning. 

But, in fact, there’s a very wide gap between “Like” and the two other expressions.

If you would like to listen to an audio lecture about the same topic, kindly click the link below.  

The audio file comes with a short drill teaching the difference between Present Simple (I study) and Present Continuous (I am studying), which is a surprisingly complex and confusing topic in English. 

You can either get the audio file here right now, or go to Cool Elf-iTunes

Click Episode 9: Like vs. Would Like vs. Want 

Good luck with your English Study! 

Keep on learning !

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Your questions, comments, feedback etc. are always welcome ;-)

Any Questions?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...