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As I would like to use "like to" ( which I've read somewhere that is a semi-modal verb) in different tenses I encountered some problems to use it. What I mean "like to" as a modal verb similar to "be to" (I am to do sth. etc.) Is the meaning of "like to" close to "I want" in this case? The third sentence doesn't sound good for me or am I wrong?

Please look at the sentences below.

Present simple:

  1. I like to read.

Past simple:

  1. I liked to read.

Future simple:

  1. I will like to read.

Or should like to be used in different example to be a semi-modal?

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    "Semi-modal" is a term sometimes used for certain constructions which express modal meaning in which the first verb is an actual auxiliary, for example be able to, be going to, and so on. Like to doesn't fit into the group, as like is a lexical verb. Could you tell us where you read that it is a semi-modal? – snailboat Nov 15 '17 at 21:31
  • What about: have to, need to, want to and mentioned like to aren't these semi-modals in these meanings? What are they if not? Thanks. As I will find the source I will let you know. – Arcadio Nov 16 '17 at 21:54
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“I will like to read” is unusual, but syntactically correct. A native American English speaker is more likely to use the gerund rather than infinitive: “I will like reading,” or “I will like reading a certain book.” If you’re expressing desire or if it is not decided that reading is in your future, you should say “I would like to read.”

This applies to the past tense without an object, too: “I liked reading” is more common than “I liked to read,” unless your intended meaning involves a progressive sense like: “I liked to read, but then I stopped liking it.”

Your second and third sentences should probably be “I liked reading” and “I would like to read”, unless there is more context.

  • What I ment was "like to" as a modal verb similar to "be to" (I am to do sth. etc.) Does your explanation include that? Is the meaning of "like to" close to "I want" in this case? – Arcadio Nov 14 '17 at 22:50
  • The comment on your question from snailplane should help explain; "like" does not function as a modal in these sentences. As for my answer... if the meaning of "like to read" indicates that you want to read, then use "I would like to read." If you say "I liked to read," the hearer will probably think that you liked reading before but that now you do not like reading -- use "I liked reading" instead. "I like to read" and "I like reading" are interchangeable in my mind. – Matt Nov 16 '17 at 22:53
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Future:

I will like to take walks once again when this broken ankle heals.

Modal:

I would like to take a walk but this broken ankle has not healed yet.

I cannot take a walk now. The modality is expressed by would, not like.

  • Thanks. Does this "like" have the same meaning as normally "to like something - to be fond of..." or one should more translate it as "want" in your first example and my first and second? – Arcadio Nov 15 '17 at 18:32
  • The meanings shade into one another. I will enjoy...(and will want to...) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 15 '17 at 18:54
  • Yes, "I would like" is a more polite way of saying "I want". – Matt Nov 16 '17 at 22:57
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To Tᴚoɯɐuo: Both sentences I will like to take walks once again when this broken ankle heals and I would like to take a walk but this broken ankle has not healed yet`* are using strong "helper words" to correctly parse. On a grammatical standpoint, the first construction works due to the particularity of the adverb "when", which can (As a matter of fact, it should be use like so) express the future using the present tense. A grammar rule that is very much unpopular, but shall raise its case on this occasion. Respectively: Will + 'like to' needs 'when', and it is so bound to remain in the present tense, whereas 'would' + 'like to' + 'but' or 'yet' is of course, the conditional. To like is a verb. It expresses an emotion. Emotions are felt in the present only! We can imagine how we WOULD feel like to do, any other time. I hope this answers the question, I would like to hearing what you have to say!

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