What’s the difference between “like + verb with ing” and “like + to infinitive”?

Like to/ like +ing. Like to go or like going?


I like eating fruit and

I like to eat fruit

are correct but they have different meanings.

I like eating fruit means that I enjoy eating fruit, when I taste an apple or an orange etc I feel good.

I like to eat fruit means that I think that it is good to eat fruit. I have read articles about a healthy diet and I see that it is better for our health to eat 5 pieces of fruit or vegetables a day

Another example:

I don’t like wearing a seat belt when I am in a car

  • (I find it uncomfortable in hot weather, I don’t enjoy wearing a seat belt)

but I like to wear a seatbelt

  • (it is good to wear a seat belt because if I’m involved in an accident it could save my life)

These rules can also be applied in the past.

I liked playing football in the park with my friends but my mother liked me to wear a hat when it was cold

If “like” is used together with a modal verb we can only use the “like to” model.

I would like to eat early today, I have a meeting this afternoon

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