Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences between Like and Would Like


What is the difference between ‘like’ and ‘would like’? Clearly these two are related. The difference lies in the grammar and usage of when to use ‘like’ and when to use ‘would like.’

‘Like’ is a key word in the English language. It has various meanings and usages. By its basic dictionary meaning, ‘like’ in the most commonly used way means to enjoy, get pleasure, approve of or feel affection for someone or something. It is used this way as a transitive verb. For example: She likes to eat dinner at a restaurant. ‘Like’ can also be used as an intransitive verb to mean a preference or approval. For example: We can eat at this restaurant if you like. Related to this meaning as a preference is when ‘like’ is used as a noun to be something that one likes. For example: Fine restaurants are a like of hers. Also a noun, a less common usage of ‘like’ is to be of the same kind or similar. For example: We go to fine restaurants and the like on Saturday nights. It can be used as an adjective meaning having the same or similar qualities too. For example: We go to restaurants that have like menus. ‘Like’ also can be used as a preposition meaning similar to, typical of or comparable to someone or something. For example: It is like when we go out to a restaurant. As a conjunction, ‘like’ is used to show the way it would be if, the same as or as if. For example: The restaurant looks like it might be closed now. Finally, ‘like’ can be an adverb to mean probably, similar to or nearly. This is a more casual usage. For example: That restaurant was like 15 miles away.

‘Would like’ is a phrase that uses ‘like’ in the setting of a transitive verb. It means to want or approve of something. For example: I would like to go to a fine restaurant. Or, I would like that very much. It must have a noun, gerund or infinitive after it. To use it in the negative to show not wanting or approving something use ‘not’ after the ‘would’. For example: She would not like this restaurant. Although grammatically, ‘would’ is the past tense form of ‘will’, however it is not used to show ‘liking’ happened in the past. It is used as a polite way of asking for something, or showing someone else prefers something. Simply using the word ‘want’ may be in certain contexts considered rude, so using ‘would like’ rather than want is more appropriate. For example: I would like to order now, please. Also, it may be difficult to know exactly how another person would feel about something, so ‘would like’ shows a reasonable amount of assurance without being overly definite. For example: I am sure you would like to eat here.

‘Like’ is a very generally used word because it has various meanings and usages. When using ‘would like’ in a sentence or phrase, ‘like’ must be used as a transitive verb to express a desire for something. It is a polite and mannerly way to request something.


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