When making a polite request, people often use the phrase, "I'd like to [SOME REQUEST]". But I also see the form, "I like to [SOME REQUEST]". For example, a former boss would arbitrarily interchange

I'd like to hold a meeting

with the other usage:

I like to hold a meeting

Up until recently I considered the first form more correct, and thought of the second form as a malapropism (or is it a mondegreen?). But now I'm not so sure. "I'd like to" implies the conditional mood ("I would") which is more tentative than the intended request.

"I like to hold a meeting" is more indirect, and perhaps more polite, than "Please hold a meeting". But "I would like to" is even more indirect and conveys indecisiveness.

Is there clear guidance on which form? Does it depend on the nature of the request?

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    "I like to hold a meeting." in the way you are proposing it is ungrammatical. (It actually can be grammatical but then it expresses a different sentiment- holding meetings makes me happy). – Jim Feb 12 '15 at 22:23
  • Things you could say: "I like to hold meetings," which is just a general statement of your opinion. "I would like to hold a meeting," which is a statement of your intention to hold a meeting in the future. – CactusHouse Feb 12 '15 at 23:03
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    I'd like means I would like, and is one way to request something. I like is a statement of the speaker's preference. So I like pasta means I am fond of it at any time, whereas I'd like pasta means I am requesting some pasta right now (perhaps ordering at a restaurant). – John Lawler Feb 12 '15 at 23:40
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    With infinitives, I like to VP means I am fond of VP-ing, while I'd like to VP is a request to be allowed to VP now. – John Lawler Feb 12 '15 at 23:42

@John Lawler has already given you the "clear guidance".

would like can be a polite replacement of 'want'.

  • I'd like two kilos of sugar, please.
  • Would you like to dance?

Generally, after would like, would prefer, would hate and would love, infinitives are most often used.

  • I'd like to tell you something

I'd like to hold a meeting is definitely an apt expression/request coming from a person in authority, in this case your Boss.

  • More often than not, the tone of the expression/purpose of the intended meeting, would determine the degree of politeness.

I like to hold a meeting can be considered equivalent to -choose to; it's my habit.

  • when I pour tea I like to put the milk in first .
  • I like to hold meetings.

The latter firm is not a request; it's an expression of pleasure (better expressed as 'I like to hold meetings').

Though you might hear weakness in the first form, it's more an expression of politeness or 'soft power.' Your boss could also say "There's a meeting. Be there," and though your obligation would not change, your team's feelings likely would.


I like is used when you say about something you like generally eg: I like apples, I like coffee, etc

I would like is used when you say about what you like at current situation. For eg when you are in a restaurant/club with your friend and if he ask what did you need. Then you will say I would like coffee, I would like noodles,I would like to play carroms etc


"Would..." shows willingness. "Like to..." expresses a wish. Both together is a language malfunction.

I would hold a meeting.


I like to hold a meeting.

but not

*I would like to hold a meeting.

  • Why do you think that "both together is a malfunction of language"? The phrasing "I would like to [do X]" is an extremely common idiomatic form in spoken and written English. – Sven Yargs Nov 3 '17 at 16:20
  • I agree with @SvenYargs. Your last example sounds much better to me than your first two. – Tyler James Young Nov 3 '17 at 16:43

protected by MetaEd Nov 3 '17 at 17:08

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