Hate, Love, Like and Prefer: Gerund or Infinitive?

In English, we can use verbs hate, like, love, and prefer with gerund (-ing form) or to-infinitive. In American English, the forms with to-infinitive are much more common than the -ing form.

However, while both these options are correct, there is a small difference between their meanings.



I like to cook but I hate washing dishes afterwards.

like to cook (like + to-infinitive) and hate washing (hate + ing form) are both acceptable

Rule 1: We can use the -ing form to put an emphasis on the experience or action and to suggest enjoyment or lack of it.



He likes telling jokes, as it makes people smile.

Likes + ing form is used to emphasise the action and suggest the enjoyment of it.

Rule 2: We can use to-infinitive to give more emphasis to the results of the action or event and to express habits or preferences. It is also perceived a more formal and distant option.



He's good at telling jokes, he likes to make people smile.

Like + to-infinitive is used to express the result of an experience.

My boss prefers not to wear a tie to work.

Prefer + to-infinitive is used to describe a preference of one's boss.

Note: The -ing form is more common than to-infinitive after verbs hate and love.



I love swimming in the rain.

Gerund is more commonly used with the verb love.

Rule 3: When we use would (or its contraction ’d) with the verbs hate, like, love, prefer, we use the to-infinitive, not the gerund.



We would hate to cause a problem.

Hate comes after the word would, so we use to-infinitive.



Choose the right form of the verb. We like ___ SNL, it's so funny.


correct answers.