Like as a verb is taught fairly early as students like talking about their likes and dislikes.
- 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."
The object has to be a noun, a gerund, or an infinitive
- "I like playing football" (gerund)
- "I like to play football" (infinitive)
- "I like football" - (noun)
- * "I like play football" - (base form, error)
But note that where the verb and the noun are the same, the processing that produces erroneous sentences above produces parsable sentences, e.g. "I like dance"
- 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!