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  1. I love how you take care of the dog.
  2. I love that you take care of the dog.

Which is correct?

If they're both correct, do they mean the same thing? What's the difference between how and that in sentences like these?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Drew, Lawrence, Scott, Phil Sweet, user66974 Aug 30 '16 at 5:16

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    Either is correct, depending upon what you want to say. You may have better luck in English Language Learners Stack Exchange. ell.stackexchange.com – Spencer Aug 29 '16 at 23:37
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    Which meaning are you looking for? "I love the process how you take care of the dog." or "I love the fact that you take care of the dog." – 54 69 6D Aug 30 '16 at 0:53
  • Only Americans would say "I love that you take care of your dog". To British (and Australian/ NewZealanders) it sounds ghastly. But if you want to sound truly American, go for it. – IanS Aug 30 '16 at 0:59
  • @IanS, can I ask which part of that sounds ghastly to non-American English-speakers? The "that," or something else? I'm truly curious. – vpn Aug 30 '16 at 1:43
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    @JasonOrendorff, its intriguing. For Brit/Aus/NZ, the verbs that can't be used in the construction "I [verb] that you went" include love, hate, like, get, take. All these transitives need 'it' as an object after the verb. The others in your list don't need 'it'. It's not just fronted pronouns either: "I love that the train toots" sounds bad too. The same problem occurs if the conjunction 'when' is substituted for 'that' ("I hate when you bite"). 'How' (conj) seems to be a slightly different case. See too Dot Wordsworth's article in The Spectator online 01/08/2015 "Why I hate ‘I love that…’" – IanS Aug 30 '16 at 23:45
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Both sentences mean what they say.

I love how you take care of the dog: This means that you appreciate that I pet the dog, play with the dog, feed the dog, give the dog treats, take the dog for walks, clean up after the dog, groom the dog, take the dog to the vet, etc.

I love that you take care of the dog: This means that you appreciate the simple fact that I take care of the dog in some way, and that that's what matters to you, not necessarily exactly how I take care of the dog. You might appreciate that I take care of the dog for any number of reasons. For example, it makes you think I'm a dog person, which in your mind is a good thing for me to be; after all, if I'm a dog person, I must be a decent human being in general, right? Or, maybe you appreciate that I take care of the dog because it's a lot of work, and you don't have the time for it.

Based on @IanS's comment, I agree that I love that you take care of the dog could be interpreted to mean I love how you take care of the dog if you think of the latter in the following sense: How I love it that you take care of the dog. I also agree that one could replace I love that you take care of the dog with I love the fact that you take care of the dog.

  • I'm still not buying it. I'm aware that the second example is of a construction U.S. English, and that it is valid there. I also understand the semantic distinction you are attempting. But for British-Australian-New Zealand speakers, the second example would need to be either "I love the way that ..." or "I love the fact that ...", or even "I love how you take care of the dog" (i.e., identical to the first example), for which - depending on context - it can have either the connotation of "I admire your compassion for dogs" or "I admire your dog grooming skills.". – IanS Aug 30 '16 at 6:48
  • @IanS I'm just trying to respond to the OP's question. :-) I take your points though. There's more than one way to read the first sentence; I gave the literal interpretation. The second sentence could perhaps benefit from the insertion of "the fact that". – Richard Kayser Aug 30 '16 at 12:22

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