Is it grammatically correct to say/write the following

Q: Do you like to eat ice cream/apples...?
A: No, I don't like [to eat apples]./ Yes, I like [to eat apples].

Is it necessary to include the object [in brackets] if it has been mentioned in the preceding question? And how about the main verb to eat, can it be omitted as well?

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    like is usually transitive, so you need to include an object. – Boondoggle Jun 22 '18 at 5:13
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    No, you can't delete a "to" infinitive phrase under identity with a preceding one. But you can delete a verb phrase (which follows the "to" of the infinitive phrase). So keep the "to" in your example: "No, I don't like to." – Greg Lee Jun 22 '18 at 5:13
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    Once you include "like", you also need to include the object. But you can just say: Yes, I do or No, I don't. – Sven Jun 22 '18 at 5:18
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    I can't imagine a native speaker saying 'Yes, I like.' It would be more natural to answer 'Yes, I do' or 'No, I don't.' – Kate Bunting Jun 22 '18 at 7:40

I concur with Kris' answer; but wanted to add that the next possibility after a simple Yes/No is to repeat the auxiliary do as in:

  1. Yes, I do [like to eat apples].
  2. No, I don't [like to eat apples].

The reason for this is that the question is actually do you...?, so you'd pick this up in your answer.

For a more details explanation see "Do vs. Does" on an English grammar site.

  • Thanks for the answers, everyone! :) Much appreciated! :) – GabeM013 Jun 22 '18 at 15:40

Q: Do you like to eat ice cream/apples...?

A: No, I don't like [to eat apples]./ Yes, I like [to eat apples].

Is it necessary to include the object in brackets[?]

If you've already repeated a transitive verb from the question, yes.

Ice cream (like pizza) is a substance every human being likes, so that question is needless. (Even those with sensitive teeth or lactose intolerance enjoy eating it; they just don't appreciate the side effects.)

For the question "Do you like apples?" normal answers would have the following formats:

  • No. ← A simple negative.
  • No, I don't. ← Replacement by a placeholder 'do'.
  • No, I don't like them. ← Repetition of the verb and its object.
  • No, I hate pomes. ← A negative with a brief explanation.
  • No, they're terrible. ← Ditto.
  • Not really. I prefer bananas. ← A negative with an alternative.

how about the main verb to eat, can it be omitted as well?

The main verb is like. The infinitive to eat acts like its noun object.

The reason you need to repeat everything (unlike, eg, in Chinese) is because English grammar understands like as the action and the negation I don't like by itself means that the speaker (impossibly) doesn't perform the action of liking at all for anything. S/he hates or is indifferent to everything. You sometimes see people say, e.g., I don't try as a way of disparaging the word or action itself: I don't try. I do everything with my full heart.

Similarly, I like to eat by itself means that the speaker enjoys the action of eating itself, without concern to what specific objects might be involved.

  • Any particular reason for the downvote? – lly Apr 26 '19 at 16:33

Other than Yes / No, everything else is optional when answer a "binary" question like this.

"Yes(, I like (eating apples))."

"No(, I don't like (eating apples))."

A slight change in wording as above might be in order. I think the gerund works better than the infinitive here.

  • Are you saying that "Yes, I like" would be acceptable? That sounds incomplete, I think "Yes, I like it" or "Yes, I like that" would be more proper. – Barmar Jun 22 '18 at 16:29
  • @Barmar Even "Yes." would be complete in all respects, is what I said. – Kris Jun 25 '18 at 6:55
  • I agree that "Yes" by itself would be adequate. But "Yes, I like eating" seems to be talking about eating in general, not about apples. – Barmar Jun 25 '18 at 15:47
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    Maybe I dont understand your notation. I thought by putting (apples) in parentheses you were saying that it's optional, so you were suggesting any of these: "Yes", "Yes, I like", "Yes, I like eating", "Yes, I like eating applies". – Barmar Jun 27 '18 at 15:24
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    "Yes, I like" does not seem like a natural response to me. I think the positive response should be: "Yes(, I do (like to (eat apples)))." – user323578 Apr 24 '19 at 12:10

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