Language tip of the week: like and dislike

Posted by on April 12, 2013

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with key vocabulary used for talking about likes and dislikes.

Other ways of saying like
love: to like something very much. Love is also used for saying that you really care about someone: I love Italian food. ♦ When did you realize you loved her?
adore: to like and admire someone. Adore is also used in an informal way for saying that you like something very much: I just adore their children. ♦ I simply adore smoked salmon.
enjoy: to like doing a particular activity: I enjoy going to the opera when I get the chance.
have a liking for: to like something specific such as an activity or a type of food or drink: I’ve developed a liking for red wine.
be keen on: to be enthusiastic about a particular person, thing, or activity: I was always pretty keen on sport at school.
be fond of: to like someone or something with a gentle, steady emotion that is not as strong as love: I’ve always been extremely fond of Mike, but I’d never marry him.
prefer: to like one thing more than another: I’d prefer a house with a bigger garden.
be crazy / mad about (informal): to like someone or something so much that you spend all your time thinking about them: She’s completely mad about basketball.
have a weakness for: to particularly like someone or something that you know is not good for you: He’s got a weakness for anything with chocolate in it.
have a soft spot for someone: to particularly like someone, even if they do not deserve it: I’ve got a real soft spot for James, even if he is annoying sometimes.

Other ways of saying dislike
not like: to not have very positive feelings about someone or something. This is the most usual way of saying you dislike someone or something: I don’t really like coffee. ♦ I don’t like him – he’s too indecisive.
not be crazy about / not be keen on (informal): used for saying that you do not like something much, especially in situations where you do not want to sound rude: I’m not crazy about that wallpaper. ♦ ‘Would you like some more?’ ‘No thanks, I’m not very keen on desserts.’
hate: to dislike someone or something in a strong emotional way: I hate that man – he’s always criticizing people. ♦ It’s a small right-wing party that hates the idea of a multicultural society.
Sometimes also used in spoken English, as an emphatic way of saying you dislike something because it annoys you: I was just going out when the phone rang – I hate it when that happens.
can’t stand / can’t bear: to dislike someone or something so strongly that it makes you feel angry or upset: I can’t stand all this noise! ♦ I really can’t bear the patronizing way he talks to her.
detest / loathe: used for emphasizing that you strongly dislike someone or something, especially when you have no respect for them or regard them as morally bad: George was a man who detested all journalists. ♦ She loathed all the insincerity and evasions of her fellow politicians.

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