‘I Like to Read' or 'I Like Reading': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 11, 2023

Do you need to know the difference between 'I like to read' and 'I like reading?' If so, you are in luck!

Here is a short answer: 

  • 'I like to read' is a grammatically correct phrase using a to-infinitive. 
  • 'I like reading' is also grammatically correct using a gerund. 

If you have time to finish this post, you will learn why both phrases are grammatically correct, what they mean, and how to use them. So, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'I Like to Read' and 'I Like Reading?'

Both phrases are grammatically correct ways to say the same thing. Some verbs, like hope, wish, dream, expect, and learn, require a to-infinitive. Other verbs, like admit, enjoy, finish, and feel, need an -ing ending.

However, others work with either, like:

  • Like
  • Love
  • Begin
  • Start

There are also some verbs you can use either way, but the meaning changes depending on whether you utilize a to-infinitive or gerund. For example, stop. 

Take a look at these sample sentences to see what I mean:

  • Please stop to smell the roses. 
  • Please stop smelling the roses. 

The first statement means that you take time to smell the roses. The latter is a request for someone to stop smelling roses.

However, in the case of like, you can use a to-infinitive or -ing ending without changing the meaning. When you use the -ing ending, reading is a gerund.

What is a Gerund

A ground is a verb that takes the form of a noun. Here is another gerund example: 

  • She loves spinning on the tire swing.

The alternative to using a gerund is to use a to-infinitive, for example:

  • She loves to spin on the tire swing.

How to Use 'I Like to Read' or 'I Like Reading'

You can use 'I like to read' or 'I like reading' interchangeably. They mean the same thing, and they are both English grammatical statements.

Here is an example:

  • I like to read psychology books.
  • I like reading psychology books.

As you can see, despite which version you choose, the terms mean the same thing.

Definition of 'I Like to Read': What is the Meaning of 'I Like to Read?'

The phrase 'I like to read' contains several terms. The keywords are like, to, and read. So, let's look at the meanings of each.

Definition of Like

The definition of like is:

  • To enjoy something

It can also mean:

  • To view something with adoration or respect
  • To compare two concepts, people, or objects

Definition of To

The definition of to in this phrase is an adverb that is:

  • A function word used to indicate a relationship to a concept, idea, object, or person

Definition of 'Read'

In the phrase 'I like to read' read means:

  • To comprehend the words and letters in a book to learn a story

Definition of 'I Like Reading': What is the Meaning of 'I Like Reading?'

In the second, the only difference is that instead of a to-infinitive, reading is a gerund. So, let's look at the meaning of reading.

Definition of 'Reading'

In this phrase 'I like reading,' reading is defined as:

  • A gerund or verb that acts as a noun when you add the -ing ending.

It also means:

  •  Taking in the words and letters on the pages of a book to comprehend the story it tells

Pronunciation: How Do You Pronounce 'I Like to Read' or 'I Like Reading'

Next, we must review how you pronounce 'I like to read' or 'I like reading.'

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'I like to read':

Ī lyk tū rēd

  • For the second,'I like reading,' use this phonetic spelling:

Ī lyk rēd-ing

Sample Sentences Using 'I Like to Read' or 'I Like Reading'

Finally, before you go, read these sentence samples using 'I like to read' or 'I like reading.' They will help you remember different ways to use the terms.

I Like to Read

  • Did he tell you I like to read books about animals and science?
  • What books do you like to read when you have an entire day to get lost in a story?
  • Does she like to read? Or does she prefer to play video games and talk to her friends like most teens?
  • When a celebrity says, 'I like to read,' it makes some kids more interested in reading.
  • Many people like to read, but they do not have the time to enjoy a good book truly.
  • He asked me how often I like to read. I told him that I would read all the time if time permitted.
  • When I was younger, I never thought I would like to read.

I Like Reading

  • Did Tim tell you I like reading books about self-improvement and business management?
  • When you have a free afternoon, what kind of books do you like reading?
  • There is no way he would say, 'I like reading.'
  • I do not care what anyone else thinks. I like reading so much I can do it when I am riding in the car, waiting in line, or lying in bed.
  • If you like reading, you should check out this new book. It is so entertaining I couldn't put it down.
  • We like reading books and discussing them with a group.
  • I like reading anything other than Westerns and mysteries.

A Summary of the Difference Between 'I Like to Read' or 'I Like Reading'

We went over a lot of information about the difference between 'I like to read' or 'I like reading. So, here is a quick recap: 

  • 'I like to read' is a to-infinitive phrase that means you enjoy reading. 
  • 'I like reading' is a gerund phrase that removes to and adds -ing to read.
  • The terms are interchangeable and have the same meaning. 

If you ever need a reminder of this lesson, return to this page for a quick review. Also, check out the other confusing words guides here. They contain accurate spellings, grammar rules, pronunciations, and examples to help you learn how to use commonly misused phrases. So, they are an excellent resource whether you want to increase your vocabulary or improve your grammar.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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