Vocabulary – How to Use the Verb ‘Like’!

by Melanie on May 12, 2010

The verb like is one of the most commonly used verbs in English. However, it is also one of the most commonly misused verbs in English. In this article you’ll learn how to use the verb like in a simple English sentence.


1. You MUST say what you like!

When you use the verb like, you MUST say what you like, even if you have to use ‘it’ or ‘this.’

I like. is NOT a complete sentence!


The correct pattern is:

subject + like + what you like


Think of Facebook:

When you ‘like’ something on Facebook, it doesn’t say “You like.”  It says “You like this.


Example sentences:

Do you like Lynn’s new haircut?
~ Yes! I like it!

My mom liked her Mother’s Day present.

I don’t like the way you treat people.

Does he like his new teacher?

~ No, he doesn’t like her!

On the weekends she likes to go shopping with her friends.

I don’t like interrupting her when she’s studying.


2. How much you like something always go before ‘like’ or after the object.

The verb like is ALWAYS followed by what you like [the object]. They can’t be separated. If you want to use very much, a lot, or so much, put them AFTER like:


subject + like + what you like + very much/a lot/so much


*You can NOT put very much, a lot, or so much between like and the object.


X: I like so much playing football!

X: I very like playing football!
[Very cannot be used by itself]


Example sentences:

He likes her very much.

My husband likes our new house very much!

Have you seen Dan’s new car?
~ Yes! I like it a lot!

I like playing football so much, I get up at 6am just to practice!

I like Depeche Mode’s new album a lot.


subject + really + like + what you like

*You can put really before like, but it cannot separate like and the object.
Example sentences:

What do you think of her new house?
~ I really like it!

He really likes playing video games. He plays them all day long!

What’s your favourite city?
~ Paris! I really like it!

My mom really likes old movies.

I really like Depeche Mode’s new album.


NOTE: You CAN’T like something too much. Too much is a negative expression. For example:

I ate too much chocolate and now I feel sick.


X: Teacher, I like you too much!


3. ‘Like’ can be followed by a gerund OR an infinitive.

She really likes to swim.

She really likes swimming.

*Some people will say there is a difference between the two, but don’t worry about it. It’s such a small difference that it’s almost meaningless.


Now you know how to use the verb like!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 e-Compty May 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm

good article, it is useful for me…


2 Omid August 27, 2012 at 5:40 am

Very useful,


3 sk4152424 March 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

How do we explain to a learner that the following sentence is wrong:
1. How does she look like? She looks like very pretty.


Melanie 4 Melanie March 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Hi, sk4152424,

First, you can say that ‘what’ is used instead of ‘how.’ That’s just the way it is in English! You may use ‘how’ in your language, but in English ‘what’ is used. Some things just don’t translate between languages.

Second, you can say that ‘very pretty’ takes the place of ‘looks like.’ “What does she look like?” asks you to describe a person. In English, you usually describe someone using adjectives with the verb ‘be.’ “She is very pretty.”

“What does she look like?”
~ “She is very pretty.”

= )


5 Renato June 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thank You for you work, is very import for all us.


6 Louise F July 20, 2013 at 1:29 am

Thank you, I like your explanations very much.
I found your website because I was trying to see when it became okay to use “like” as people do regarding Facebook. Even television news personalities ask people to “like” them. They do not want people to “like” them – they are trying to have people DO something – on the “you like this” on Facebook.

Aside from the fact that I hate the familiarity that is required on that site, I hate that my only choice is to one-click “you like this”. (Everyone is not my ‘friend’; and I wish they had a button that said – “I acknowledge that I read your message and wanted you to know”. Like the old rubber stamp that said “Read, date/initial”. Sometimes I don’t agree with the comments at all – but I am not unhappy to have the information.)


Melanie 7 Melanie July 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Hi, Louise!

“I wish they had a button that said – “I acknowledge that I read your message and wanted you to know””
~ I do, too! What a great idea! This would make Facebook so much more enjoyable to use. I use Facebook mostly to help English learners. I rarely use it in my personal life. I prefer phone calls & emails with friends!

When people/companies tell Facebook users to ‘Like’ them, they want the user to CLICK on the ‘Like’ button.

= )


8 Casio April 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

Melanie, please, what’s correct to write/say:
“I’d like presente me” or “I’d like to presente me”? Thanks


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