LIKE – Verb or Preposition?

The word LIKE is quite versatile and can be used as a verb, a preposition, an adjective,
and a noun. It’s two main uses are as a verb and as a preposition:

VERB

As a verb – it means to enjoy, or to have a preference for something / someone. It is used in the same way as LOVE, but is not as strong. Examples:

  • I like watching T.V. in the evenings.
  • I like my new English teacher, he is easy to understand.
  • My sister likes eating pizza, but she doesn’t like pasta.
  • I like the colour blue more than the colour red.
  • Do you like going to the beach? Yes, I love it.

 
Note:

    1. We don’t use LIKE in the continuous form: i.e. I like to read books, NOT I am liking to read books.
    2. We generally follow LIKE with an object: i.e. I like learning English (or I like IT.)

 

PREPOSITION

As a preposition (and as an adjective) it is used to compare things, or to say that something is similar to something else. i.e. One thing / person is LIKE another. Examples:

  • You look just like your mother with that dress on.
  • It seems like summer, it’s so hot outside.
  • Stop behaving like a child.
  • It’s just like him to be late for an appointment.
  • What does it feel like to have passed your exams?
  • We seem to be of like minds. (Meaning we think the same way about something.)

 

ADVERB / CONJUNCTION

LIKE is often wrongly used as an adverb and / or a conjunction, and if you wish to speak English correctly you shouldn’t use it in either of these two ways. Incorrect example:

  • As an adverb: I feel LIKE, I’m annoyed. (Here the word LIKE is completely unnecessary, just delete it).
    Correct example: I feel annoyed.
  • As a conjunction: He looks LIKE he is happy. (Here you should use the words AS IF or AS THOUGH).
    Correct example: He looks as if he is happy.

See more about ways to use the word LIKE here, at Wikipedia.
 

WANT TO – WOULD LIKE TO

Be careful not to confuse LIKE with the words I WOULD LIKE…
I WOULD LIKE is simply a polite way of saying I WANT. Examples:

  • I would like you to come to my party on Saturday.
  • Would you like (do you want) some coffee?
  • She says she’d like to be my friend.
  • I would have liked to have bought a new car last year, but I couldn’t afford it.
  • I would like (love) to go to the beach this week-end.

 

Related content:

The Cambridge Dictionary.

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