I've found out that there is a phrase

feel like verb-ing

and that is used to describe a wish for or inclination to something, like

I feel like drinking tea

But I've also heard this example:

If I have short vacation, by the time I feel like relaxing, I have to go back home.

It seems that in this case this phrase is suppose to mean

I begin to relax

Am I correct or I misunderstand?

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    I think the meaning is the same in both cases: by the time I wish to verb or by the time I am capable of verbing... However, your example sounds a little strange and artificial to me; I can't quite imagine a native speaker saying that. Do you have a source for the example? I would find it easier to imagine a speaker saying "by the time I feel like I can relax" or "by the time I'm starting to relax". – stangdon Oct 1 '17 at 18:40
  • This was actually in one video about TOEFL speaking section; the samples responses were recorded and this phase was in one of those responses. I would like to believe that native speakers were recorded for that video. – newt Oct 2 '17 at 5:47

In some cases you have to sense the meaning of phrases rather than just understand the dictionary definition of the word.

by the time I feel like relaxing

is another way to say

by the time I feel like I am able to relax.

This is slightly different from

by the time I feel like I am relaxed.

This structure can be used elsewhere with similar meaning:

I have to have a few drinks before I feel like singing karaoke.

Many people don't feel like learning a sport until they buy a bunch of expensive equipment for that sport.

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