Is there any difference in meaning or implication between the following sentences?

  1. I like to go to the beach when I'm on holiday.
  2. I like going to the beach when I'm on holiday.

Some internet sites suggest that the use of the gerund implies a greater frequency but I'm not convinced that there is any real reasoning behind this.

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    No, not with like. It can take either a gerund or an infinitive complement with Equi (same subject as like), and there's no difference in meaning. There may be differences in individual habits, and there certainly is a lot of difference among opinions, as you note. That's because folks worry too much about being "correct" instead of being clear. If there's two ways to say something, they're sure one of them hasta be wrong. That's where we get most of our questions here at ELU. So don't pay attention to that BS; use whichever you prefer, for whatever reasons. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 17:23
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    @JohnLawler I think there is a difference in UK English, at least, although it rarely makes any difference to anything much. An example would be "I like having the injections into my eyeballs twice a month" versus "I like to have the injections into my eyeballs twice a month". The first implies a sense of enjoyment, the second a preference for arranging things that way. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Both mean the same thing, however they could be interpreted slightly differently.

  1. I like to go to the beach when I'm on holiday, definitely means that you like the beach.

  2. I like going to the beach when I'm on holiday, could be misconstrued as you saying that you like the journey to the beach, but do not necessarily like the beach itself.

  • This is possible but it's far from a clear distinction. If you think about "I like going home" vs "I like to go home", the first is (slightly) more likely to refer to the journey and the second to the outcome, although you certainly could say "I like going home at weekends" (suggesting being at home) or "I like to go home by train" (suggesting the journey). Still, likely the best answer we'll get.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 17:37
  • I think it's very rare that someone would interpret "going" as referring to the journey. You'd probably need a more specific verb to trigger that meaning, like "I like driving to the beach" (you prefer driving rather than walking).
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 19:54

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