Infinitives and ing forms after love, like, hate and prefer

The verbs like, love, hate and prefer can be followed by both infinitives and –ing forms. There is little difference of meaning.

  • I hate to get up early in the morning.
  • I hate getting up early in the morning.
  • She doesn’t like to cook.
  • She doesn’t like cooking.
  • I don’t want to hire a domestic help. I prefer cleaning my home myself. / I prefer to clean my home myself.

In American English, like + infinitive is more common than like + -ing form.

-Ing forms are generally used after these words to talk about things in general.

  • I like painting. (This is a general statement).
  • I like to paint this scenery. (This refers to a particular occasion.)

After expressions like would like, would prefer, would hate and would love, infinitives are common.

  • I would like to have something to drink.
  • ‘Would you like a lift?’ ‘No, thanks. I would prefer to walk.’


  • Do you like singing? (= Do you enjoy singing?)
  • Do you like to sing? (= Do you want to sing now?)


Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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