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“I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something”


Is there any difference of meaning between these sentences?

  1. I like to get up early
  2. I like getting up early


One teacher of mine suggested in his class that one of them (I can't remember which one) meant that "I like it and I do it" while in the other case "I like it but I usually don't do it". t was justt to see if this difference really existed.


No. to get up is a full infinitive used as a noun phrase, whereas getting up is a gerund (also a noun phrase). Using the gerund is often considered more natural in this case, but it depends who you talk to. Either way, the meaning is the same.

Edit: In this particular case, I still think the meaning is the same. Someone would not say they appreciate getting up early without referring to some (implied) benefit ("I appreciate John getting up early"); they would only say "I like getting up early" if they actually do so themselves.

That said, your teacher is correct. For example, I like to ski always means that the speaker has skiied and enjoys it. I like skiing can mean the same thing, but can also mean I like to watch skiing or something similar. It all depends on context. If there's little context available, I would make it explicit which meaning you intend.

  • Please, see my update – Juanillo May 2 '11 at 16:26
  • @Juanillo Updated. – Matthew Read May 2 '11 at 16:31
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    I agree with you. I like to ski means you enjoy the act of skiing. Whereas I like skiing could even mean you like the idea of skiing (or that you advocate skiing as a form of recreation, or many other things). – David Schwartz Oct 4 '11 at 1:52

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