We often ask this question: “Would you like to do something?”. However, is it grammatically correct to say, “Would something like to do something?” For example:

Would IBM like to acquire Apple?

  • 1
    In your example, IBM is someone, rather than something Aug 17, 2013 at 6:02
  • In the specific example you give, people are more likely to say "Would IBM want to acquire Apple". In general, it is easier to imagine large organisations as having drives and intentions, as implied by "want", than caprices and whims.
    – itsbruce
    Aug 17, 2013 at 10:08
  • Why do you think it is correct/acceptable?
    – TrevorD
    Aug 17, 2013 at 12:30

3 Answers 3


Yes, your example of IBM acquiring Apple is correct. You is just a placeholder and can be replaced by a person's name, organization, place, etc. Here's an example that may help you wrap your head around it.

Would he/she/they/it/I/someone/ like to acquire Apple.

That said, when you refer to an organization, you are actually referring to something that's a living thing and acts more like a body of people working together. So you wouldn't really say,

Would a stone like to eat something?

This is not ungrammatical, but unidiomatic and to some extent illogical, unless we live in an imaginary world.


Things do not have brains and therefore cannot have preferences. They cannot like or dislike. As Noah said, IBM is functioning as an organism and is capable of making decisions.


No It won't be correct After "Would" a pronoun is required while in the example you are using Noun ("IBM" - Name of a firm).

  • 3
    This is absolutely, entirely, 100 per cent incorrect. A noun (phrase) can function as a subject just as well as a pronoun (which is in fact a noun phrase). Aug 17, 2013 at 6:37
  • @Victor: Any reference for you saying so pal? Aug 17, 2013 at 6:58
  • 1
    I'm wondering: Would Victor like to clarify this answer?
    – J.R.
    Aug 17, 2013 at 11:57
  • So it would be wrong to say "Would Mrs Smith like a visit?" ??
    – TrevorD
    Aug 17, 2013 at 12:28

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