The verb "to like"


Use the verb "to like", when you talk about things that you enjoy doing:
  • I like playing tennis.
  • You like going out to clubs.
  • He likes riding his bike.
  • We like going to the cinema.
  • They like watching TV.
As you see in the sentences above, you always use the form of the verb like + the ing-form of the following verb. The verb like always requires the ing-form when you talk about things you enjoy!
Instead of the verb like, you can also use the following verbs:
  • to enjoy
  • to love
  • to prefer
Note: They all require the ing-form:
  • He likes running.
  • He enjoys running.
  • He loves running.
  • He prefers running.
Of course you can also use the verb like with the infinitive of the following verb: He likes to run. But in British English, this means that he thinks it is good to run in order to keep in shape. It doesn't mean that he generally enjoys running.
The opposite of "to like" is "to dislike". It also requires the ing-form of the following verb:
  • He likes running but he dislikes swimming.
Instead of the verb dislike, you can also use the following verbs:
  • to hate: They hate playing boardgames.
  • can't stand: She can't stand listening to country music.
  • can't bear: He can't bear being alone.
Of course, you can also negate the verb to like instead of using a different verb:
  • They don't like playing boardgames.
  • She doesn't like listening to country music.
  • He doesn't like being alone.
Complete the sentences with the ing-form of the verb in brackets. For example: He likes _____ (play the guitar). He likes playing the guitar.
  1. They like (go to restaurants).
  2. They don't like (cook).
  3. He doesn't like (talk on the phone).
  4. She likes (watch films).
  5. She doesn't like (be on the computer).
  6. He likes (read magazines).


When you pose a question with the verbs to like, to enjoy, to love, to hate, etc. they also require the ing-form of the following verb:
  • Do you like playing basketball?
  • Does he like watching movies?
  • Does she enjoy reading?
  • Do you love meeting people?
  • Do they hate cooking?
Read the following answers and write the questions. Always use the same words as given in the answers. For example: __________? – No, he doesn't like reading. You write: Does he like reading? If you need help, read our grammar explanations on yes-no-questions.
  1. ⁠? – Yes, she likes playing sports.
  2. ⁠? – No, he doesn't hate going outside.
  3. ⁠? – Yes, she likes playing the guitar.
  4. ⁠? – Yes, they enjoy playing board games.
  5. ⁠? – Yes, she enjoys horseback riding.
  6. ⁠? – Yes, they prefer drinking wine.
Remember: when you say that something (usually an action) is always the case, that someone has a habit or that somebody does something regularly, you use the simple present tense!
Statements: simple present or ing-form? Read the sentences and decide which form to use. Write them into the gaps. For example: He usually ____ (ride) his bike, but he doesn't like ____ (read). He usually rides his bike, but he doesn't like reading.
  1. Sarah's Dad doesn't like wine, he more enjoys (drink) beer.
  2. Because Sarah's Mum loves (cook), she sometimes (invite) Marc and Sarah for dinner.
  3. Marc and Sarah often (go) to a restaurant because they don't like (cook).
  4. Marc and Sarah always (bring) some wine.
  5. They all enjoy (eat) together.
Read the following text. You can also listen to it. Then choose from the list below what Peter likes and what he doesn't like. Use the colour yellow for the things he likes and the colour orange for the things he doesn't like.
Peter has a new penpal. He introduces himself in his first e-mail. He writes:
"Hi Daniel. How are you? I'm fine. My name is Peter and I'm 16 years old. I come from London. In my free time, I do a lot of things. For example, I like playing the guitar and listening to music. I don't like reading though. I rather like playing games with my little brother and going outside. When I'm outside, I prefer riding my bike or playing football. Even though I like sports, I don't like playing volleyball or tennis. And I hate running! However, sometimes I like to go swimming. I also enjoy going to the city and meeting my friends. When I'm in the city, I can't stand sightseeing. What are your hobbies, Daniel? Do you like sports? Hope to hear from you soon! Take care, Peter."

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