Like (verb)

From Teflpedia
Revision as of 07:55, 17 April 2019 by (talk) (Two main meanings)

Transitive verb

Like is a transitive verb, which means it has to take an object. Low level learners may produce the following mistake:

  • S1: "Do you like football?"
  • S2 *"Yes, I like."

S2 needs to say "Yes, I do" or "Yes, I like it/that/football". But compare:

  • S1 "Do you swim?"
  • S2 "Yes, I swim."

This parses because swim is an intransitive verb, although it may be more common and appropriate to reply "Yes, I do".

Two main meanings

The word like in English has two main forms (but several additional ones!); as a verb, and as a preposition. Low level learners often confuse the two meanings.

  • What does he like? (verb) - He likes football.
  • What is he like? (preposition) - He is friendly.
  • What does he look like? (preposition) - He is handsome.

There are several problems:

  • Students may answer the wrong question, e.g. "What is he like?" + "He likes football."
  • Students will often confuse the different forms of using be v. auxiliary do
  • Students will often try to use "like" (prep) in their answers to these questions, e.g. *"He is like friendly".

Students can use like as a preposition without knowing (1) that it is a preposition or (2) even what a preposition is, however even low level learners really ought to know what a verb is!