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Expressing likes and dislikes is a part of life. From a young age, most children start recognizing the things they enjoy and the ones they don’t, and as their speech develops kids become eager to share this information with family and friends. The verb “like” is the one used for this purpose, and it’s also one of the most common verbs in English.

Is “like” a verb?

Well, yes and no! The answer is not that simple. “Like” is, in fact, a verb. As a verb, it has a meaning, a conjugation, and can be used in different tenses in English. However, “like” can also be used as a preposition, conjunction, and a suffix.

What’s the meaning of the verb “like”?

In English, the meaning of the verb “like” is similar to the verb “love” but the feeling is not as strong, it implies that the person enjoys something or that he or she has a positive feeling about it.

For example, “I like my new shoes.”, this implies that the subject enjoys the new shoes and feels positive about them. On the contrary, when it’s a negative sentence with the verb like, for example: “I don’t like summer”, it means that person doesn’t feel positive about summer but it’s not a strong feeling of dislike.

Conjugation of the verb “like” in English

The verb “like” is a regular verb, this means that it doesn’t change as much when used in different tenses. Also, it’s important to remember that the verb “like” always requires an object.

In order to make a sentence with “like” the correct structure is to put the subject first, then the verb like, and then the thing that he or she likes (subject + like + what the subject likes). For example: “I like water”, “I have a pen. I like it”.

Present tense: like/likes

I like - I don’t like
you like - you don’t like
he likes - he doesn’t like
she likes - she doesn’t like
it likes - it doesn’t like
you like - you don’t like
we like - we don’t like
they like - they don’t like

The present tense of the verb “like” in affirmative is very easy to make. Since it’s a regular verb, it doesn’t change much for the different pronouns in English, just for the third person where there’s an “s” added to the word “like”. The negative sentences with the verb “like” in Present Simple are formed adding don’t or doesn’t -depending on the subject- before the word “like”.

Present simple - Verb Like

Examples with the verb “like” in Present Simple:

I like strawberry ice cream.
Julia and I like our art class a lot.
Sabrina is studying English, she likes to learn languages.
Elliot, Billy and I are traveling to Canada soon. We like cold weather.
Martha doesn’t like her new bed.
We don’t like to eat alone, so we always eat together.

Past tense of the verb “like”: liked

I liked - I didn’t like
you liked - you didn’t like
he liked - he didn’t like
she liked - she didn’t like
it liked - it didn’t like
you liked - you didn’t like
we liked - we didn’t like
they liked - they didn’t like

Given that the verb “like” is regular, its past is formed by adding the letter “-d” at the end of the word “like”. This applies to all pronouns. The negative of the verb “like” in Past Simple is formed by adding the word didn’t (verb “to do” in the past tense) before the word “like”.

Past Simple - Verb Like

Examples with the verb “like” in Past:

Paula liked to go out on Sundays, but now she doesn’t.
I received your card, I liked it a lot! Thanks!
When Samantha was little, she liked coconut candy.
Mateo liked your gift, it was very pretty!
Elena didn’t like her shirt, so she changed it.
Wendy doesn’t like the beach, she prefers the mountains.

Future tense of the verb “like”: will like

I will like - I won’t like
you will like - you won’t like
he will like - he won’t like
she will like - she won’t like
it will like - it won’t like
you will like - you won’t like
we will like - we won’t like
they will like - they won’t like

As usual in English, the future tense of the verb “like” is formed by adding the word “will ” just before the verb “like” for affirmative sentences, and the word “won’t ” for negative sentences.

Future simple - Verb Like

Examples with the verb “like” in Future:

We are going on a road trip next Sunday! The boys will like it!
Are you sure the movie is funny? Otherwise, I don’t know if I will like it.
I will like to go to your house tomorrow, Marina.
There’s a new game coming out. I’m sure Sam will like to play it.
It’s going to be really cold today, I probably won’t like walking home.
Don’t buy Jane the big watch, she won’t like it.

Questions with the verb “like”

Do I like…? - Did I like…?
Do you like…? - Did you like…?
Does she like…? - Did she like…?
Does he like…? - Did he like…?
Does it like…? - Did it like…?
Do we like…? - Did we like…?
Do you like…? - Did you like…?
Do they like…? - Did they like…?

Just as it happens with the majority of verbs in English, the questions with the verb “like” are constructed using the verb “to do” in English, with the words “do ” or “does ” for questions in present tenses or the word “did ” for questions in past.

Questions - Verb Like

Examples of questions with the verb “like”:

Does she like her new book? Yes, she likes it a lot!
I got you a present, did you like it? Yes, thanks!
Cecilia and Amanda are coming later, do they like peach tea?
Rafael is getting new shoes, does he like the blue or the green ones?

Other uses of “like” in English

“Like” is not only a verb, it can also be used as a preposition, as a suffix, and in some cases, it can even be used as a conjunction.

When “like” is used as a preposition, it means ‘similar to”, and in this case, it usually goes with verbs related to the senses, such as look, sound, or feel. For example, “The cookie tastes like mint.When “like” is used as a suffix, it has the same meaning as a preposition, but it goes at the end of a noun. For example: “She is doing some sports-like activities.

The use of like as a conjunction is common, although is not considered grammatically correct in some cases, and it’s considered informal speech. In this case, it’s used as a substitute for the word “as”. For example: “Nobody knows this school like I do.” which will be “Nobody knows this school as I do.


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