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Is there any difference between "To like for somebody/something to be something" vs. "to like somebody/something to be something"?

  1. In the following case there seems to be a difference, because the former seems to suggest that one would like so for the sake of the other, and latter for ones own.

    "I would like for you to be happy" vs. "I would like you to be happy"

  2. Here, the above distinction makes no sense, since the weather is inanimate. Is the former a valid thing to say at all?

    "I would like for the weather to be nice" vs. "I would like the weather to be nice"

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3 Answers 3

After the verb like, an infinitive object complement clause requires a To-complementizer on its verb

  • I would like to go. ~ *I would like go.

and allows a For-complementizer on its subject, if it's different from the subject of like

  • I would like for him to go ~ I would like him to go.

This is also true of some other verbs of preference or intention

  • I intend (for) him to become an engineer.
  • I prefer (for) you not to leave.
  • I want (for) you to go tomorrow.

Normally, though, the for of the For...To infinitive complementizer gets deleted.

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There is no effective difference in terms of meaning. Both can be used interchangeably, though the first sounds more formal ( this isn't to say it is formal )

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Tom is British, so it's obviously not exclusively American, but it's worth saying it's predominantly an American usage. I've never heard "like for" used in British English. –  Andrew Leach Jul 24 '12 at 12:09
    
@AndrewLeach You obviously have never been to Wigan then Andrew! –  David Watts Jul 24 '12 at 12:35
1  
No. The English are a nation divided by a common language. –  Andrew Leach Jul 24 '12 at 12:40

To like for has a kind of wish or hope under-meaning to it. In other terms, when you say:

  • I would like for you to be happy.

That obviously means that you would like that person to be happy, but it also implies that you hope/wish for him to be happy.

On the other hand,

  • I would like you to be happy.

Simply means that you would like the fact of that person being happy.

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