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I already know the difference between "stop doing something" and "stop to do something".

I really don't know what is the difference between "like doing something" and "like to do something".

And is it "gerund" or "present participle"?


This is not a duplicate question. That answer doesn't fit (in my opinion) to this question. Actually, I want to know the difference between saying, for example: "I like to drink soda" and "I like drinking soda", and which is the correct if there is a correct construction.

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    That answer only applies to try; stop and like have predictably different syntax. So it's not a duplicate at all. This answer deals with stop, and like can take either an infinitive complement (I like to ski) or a gerund complement (I like skiing) with no change in meaning. It's always about the predicates; different predicates have different rules. – John Lawler Mar 22 '14 at 18:54
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    Thank you for the help, John Lawler. And it is not a duplicate of a question about "try", it's about "like". – Fyre Mar 22 '14 at 19:02
  • @John: Yes, but are there any general principles that go beyond simply saying "it depends on the specific verb"? – FumbleFingers Mar 22 '14 at 20:08
  • You might find some here, but they're only "speaking roughly" – John Lawler Mar 22 '14 at 21:33
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The short answer is, there is no difference between the two 'like' constructions. They mean the same thing and which one you use would depend on context/preference/custom.

I like doing crosswords / I like to do crosswords

I don't know of any rule that would help explain this construction when used with other verbs.

These are not gerunds (a noun formed from a verb): doing is the participle, and to do is the infinitive.

However, 'doing something' is often a general term standing in for another verb, so it might depend on the construction of that other verb.

A: "I like walking early in the morning when it's not so busy."
B: "Yes I like doing that too."

A: "I like to wind down with a glass of wine when I get home in the evening."
B: "Yes I like to do that too."

Edit: Re Gerunds, please see John Lawler's comments below.

  • No, they are gerunds. Doing is the present active participle form of do; that form has a number of uses, including gerund verb forms. Gerund is one of the possible complements of verbs. – John Lawler Mar 23 '14 at 1:48
  • @JohnLawler Thanks for the link but I am puzzled as to how this is a gerund. Which section is the relevant one? None of the examples seems the same as the construction here. – Mynamite Mar 23 '14 at 2:02
  • Like can take four different types of complement clauses: gerund clause with EQUI He likes skiing; infinitive clause with EQUI He likes to ski; tensed clause with extraposition He likes (it) that it rarely rains here; tensed embedded question clause He likes what you're doing. A gerund clause has an untensed -ing verb form, an infinitive clause has an untensed infinitive verb form, and tensed clauses have tensed verb forms. That's all. – John Lawler Mar 23 '14 at 18:01
  • @JohnLawler I bow to superior knowledge, I've added an edit. – Mynamite Mar 24 '14 at 20:39

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