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Hi,

What is the difference between these two pairs of sentences?

1. I don't like to run.

I don't like running.


2. I don't like to lend him the money.

I don't like lending him the money.


Thanks.

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Both sentences in each pair mean the same thing.

After the verb 'like' the infinitive and the gerund are just alternate ways of expressing the same meaning.

CJ

Comments  
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Hi CJ,

anonymous1. I don't like to run. I don't like running.

Hi CJ,

Does it mean that the speaker doesn't run at all or we can't tell if he runs sometimes even if he doesn't enjoy it?

Thanks.

In everyday English, I see it this way.

1) I don't like to run. I don't like to do it.

2) I don't like running. I don't like the activity. This can mean the same as #1. But then consider this context. My wife turns on TV coverage of a running event. I say I don't like running, so please change the channel.

Clive

Hi Clive,

I see what you mean. Is it possible that I like running because I think it is a good exercise but I don't like to run?

Thanks.

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anonymous

Hi CJ,

anonymous1. I don't like to run. I don't like running.

Hi CJ,

Does it mean that the speaker doesn't run at all or we can't tell if he runs sometimes even if he doesn't enjoy it?

Thanks.

I know someone who doesn't like anything in a cream sauce, but if he's served it as a guest in someone else's home, he eats it just to be polite.

In other words, liking and not liking is not so closely connected to doing and not doing as you may think.

And by the way, I think you and Clive have stumbled across a red herring with regard to the 'running' example. What is said about that example is not true in general of the like + infinitive vs like + gerund situation. It is just an unfortunate coincidence that you chose an example in which a word (running) has a distinct interpretation as a noun describing a certain well-known activity. Most other cases are not like this example, and in those more typical cases, the choice of infinitive or -ing makes no difference.

I don't like to pay taxes. / I don't like paying taxes.

CJ

Hi CJ,

Is it more natural to say "I don't like to pay taxes" than " I don't like paying taxes" when it is something that you have to do or vice versa?

Thanks.

anonymous

Hi CJ,

Is it more natural to say "I don't like to pay taxes" than " I don't like paying taxes" when it is something that you have to do or vice versa?

Thanks.

I have no idea. To me the meaning is the same.

CJ

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