You probably know that the verb like can be followed by either the -ing form or by an infinitive.
- I like going to the cinema
- I like to see all the latest movies.
Often these two forms mean exactly the same thing but there can be a difference between them. When we use like to there is an ide that we think is is a good idea, even if not pleasant, and it is probably a regular action.
- I like to visit the dentist twice a year.
- I like my children to be in bed by nine.
- I like to keep fit.
We use would like to to make polite offers and requests.
- Would you like to have lunch one day next week?
- I’d like to have your opinion.
Used as a preposition, like often means ‘similar’ or ‘typical’..
- Like me, you probably are a bit shocked by his behaviour.
- What is Harry like? Is he conceited?
- You look like you need to sit down.
- I want to do something exciting – like bungee jumping.
- It is just like him to be late.
In informal American English, like is used to mean ‘as if’. (Some people think it is ‘incorrect’ but you will certainly hear it a lot.)
- I feel like I am a princess.
- It was like I was back in the sixties.
Don’t confuse that with feel like meaning ‘a desire to do someting’.
- I feel like going out for a meal.
- I don’t feel like driving any more today.
Unusually for a preposition, like can have the adverbs quite or rather in front of it.
- It is quite like old times.
- It is rather like it was before we had computers.
Here are some useful phrases using like.
Come when you like.
- You are always welcome. Come when you like.
Do as you like.
- It is entirely your choice. Do as you like.
If you like is used to make suggestions.
- We could go later, if you like.
Like this is used when you are demonstrating something.
- You put the paper in here like this.
Eat like a horse means to eat in large quantities.
- Kate eats like a horse but she never seems to put on any weight.
Feel like a million means that you feel really good.
- I have met a new girl. I feel like a million.
Go like clockwork means that it happens without problems.
- The launch of the new product went like clockwork.
Like a bat out of hell means very fast.
- He drove like a bat out of hell. I was scared.
Like a fish out of water means that the person does not fit in at all.
- He knows a lot about accounting but he is like a fish out of water in marketing.
If something sells like hot cakes, it sells really well.
- The new iphone is selling like hot cakes.
If you go out like a light, you fall asleep immediately.
- He was so tired that he went out like a light when he lay on the sofa.
If you sleep well, you sleep like a log.
- I slept really well. I slept like a log.
If you watch like a hawk, you watch really closely.
- I didn’t trust him so I watched him like a hawk for the whole time he was here. He didn’t do anything wrong.
If news spreads like wildfire, everybody hears it very quickly.
- Reports of their argument spread like wildfire through the company.