Can we say"dislike to do"? Thanks.
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Comments  (Page 2) 

Thank you for the comment. I myself feel there seems such a difference between the usages of 'dislike doing' and 'dislike to do'. I mean, 'dislike to do' is used to express a feeling the subject has at a particular occasion rather than a feeling he/she has habitually. But regrettably I haven't found such kind of explanation in reliable literature.


It is given in the book I referred in earlier mail

"Gerund can be used instead of the infinitive when the action is being considered in general sense, but it is always safe to use an infinitive. When we wish to refer to one particular action we must use the infinitive."

He found parking difficult - would mean that he usually/always found it difficult.
He found it difficult to park - could refer to one particular occasion.

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Hello Senthilvelann

Do you think the rule is applicable to any verb?

Let me give some examples;
[G-1] They began talking between themselves. [I-1] They began to talk between themselves.
[G-2] The baby started crying. [I-2] The baby started to cry.
[G-3] She continued to study English. [I-3] She continued studying English.

I don't feel much difference between G and I.
How about you?

Good Afternoon Paco,

YES. There is a difference in meaning.

They began talking between themselves (would mean that it was usual that they stop talking for a while and resume afterwards)

They began to talk between themselves ( would mean that their talking happened due to certain reason)


The baby started crying again. (No reason and the crying is usual)

The baby started to cry after it was bitten by ant. ( Ant bite is the reason for crying)

and so on.

Paco - I would certainly hesitate to say you are wrong after all your research! Maybe the reason it sounds odd to me is just that in conversational AmE, we don't use "dislike" very much - usually we would say "don't like." Maybe "dislike" in used more commonly in BrE, and maybe there "dislike to do something" sounds fine. I'd like to hear from some other native speakers, BrE and AmE, to see if their reactions are different. (In saying this, I don't mean to exclude any non-native speakers from the discussion!)

I don't think you made any mistakes in your research - I think in language there are just some things that don't sound quite natural to the native ear, even if the grammer books all say they are acceptable. Of course, you can decide to use them anyway - I'm not saying that all English speakers all over the world have to sound exactly like me. What a dull world that would be! It's just that in the case of constructions that are fine according to the books but still somehow sound odd, you would have no way of knowing that unless a native speaker points it out. And, as I said, it might well be different in BrE. That's why I want to hear other opinions as well.

It's snowing here today - rather surprising for this late in April.
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Want the opinion of a non native? might be refreshing! Emotion: smile

To me, dislike doing something refers to something general, a habit you have, whereas dilike to do something, well that's for particular cases.
But then I'd tend to use "not like" in either case, but that's maybe because I read soooo many AmE novels!

As to the baby who started to cry/crying, I feel "started crying" more ... how can I say? pictural? vivid?, and "started to cry" more uninterested (from the parents'side), medical, record-like.

Can a native give their opinion on this?
I find 'dislike to do' very odd. In fact, when Paco gave his results, I assumed it must be an AmE usage.

I would not be surprised to find it in a C17 text, though. Some meanings of 'dislike' are now obsolete.


It is really useful to hear opinions here from many people about something, which otherwise I cannot know. As most native speakers here feel oddness in "dislike to do", the expression should belong to a rare or obsolete usage. As Khoff is suggesting, one problem of learning English through grammar books such as I'm doing is that grammar books don't give us concrete information about the extent of rarity/commonness when they say about the usage of some collocation that its use is rare or common. I have had a vague expectance that Google might help me to overcome the problem, but it's likely Google results do not always reflect the actual usage of a word.

As to the choice between 'start/begin doing' and 'start/begin to do', one of my grammar books gives comments that :
[1] choose 'start/begin to do' when 'start' is a progressive form to avoid doubling 'ing's.
[2] 'start/begin to do' is more common when the subject is an inanimate thing.
[EX] (o) It started to rain. (?) It started raining.
[3] choose rather 'start to do' when the 'do' expresses any mental activity of the subject.
[EX] (o) He began to see what she meant. (?) He began seeing what she meant.

I don't know whether the comments are right or not, but the comment [3] seems someway in agreement with Pieanne's feeling that 'start crying' is an expression more picture-like. Maybe 'start doing' is better fit to describing a fact in the case the subject is a human/humans.

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Paco - I am a little out of sequence here - now I am responding to the idea that the gerund refers more to habitual action and the infinitive to particular cases. In the examples given earlier, -- the baby started to cry/started crying; they began to talk/began talking; she continued to study/studying English -- I do not perceive any difference at all between the two versions. Zero. Zip. Zilch. I think any grammar book that stresses this alleged difference is just trying to drive English learners crazy! Also, I do not think the distinction between animate/inanimate subjects is important - I would be just as likely to say "It started raining" as "It started to rain." In all these examples, I find the NO DIFFERENCE between the two forms, except possibly that the gerund sounds slightly less formal than the infinitive.

That said, I would agree that "start to do" sounds better than "starting doing," and you should avoid two "-ing words" in a row.

As for your rule "choose rather 'start to do' when the 'do' expresses any mental activity of the subject" - I don't think I agree with this one. In the example you gave, for some reason I do prefer "He began to see what she meant" to "He began seeing what she meant." But I don't accept the "mental activity" rule in general because I find notheing wrong with "she began wondering what it was all about," "he started wishing he had never come," etc. Certainly you could use the infinitive in these examples, but I don't feel any strong need to. If this goes against an existing rule, I must say it is not a very important or well-observed rule.
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