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How to describe someone's immediate liking toward some negative activity?

For example, in the example below, I was told that "He took an instant liking to bullying" doesn't sound well:

When this class had just been formed, it turned out that Jeffrey was a head taller than anyone else in his class and much stronger at that. He took an instant liking to bullying his classmates - as if it were something natural for him. He has never stopped bullying his peers until this day!

So what would be the right way then?


My question was edited. The previous title was: ""to take an instant liking to" something - is this phrase possible in English?"

Here is how my question looked before:

Can I use such an expression as "to take an instant liking to" to describe someone's liking toward some activity or a thing at the very first exposure?

For example,

When this class had just been formed, it turned out that Jeffrey was a head taller than anyone else in his class and much stronger at that. He took an instant liking to bullying his classmates - as if it were something natural for him. He has never stopped bullying his peers until this day!

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    The expression is commonly used to mean exactly what it says but it does not sit comfortably in your sentence. We use it more often to refer to people or activities rather than bad or cruel tendencies. – Ronald Sole Sep 19 '18 at 16:44
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    @RonaldSole -- Your comment would make a good answer. – Jasper Sep 19 '18 at 16:46
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    From Merriam-Webster: take a liking to (idiom) - to begin to like (someone or something). Where instant just has its normal meaning, which can be easily seen as equivalent to M-W's example usage She took an immediate liking to sailing when she tried it for the first time. – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '18 at 17:15
  • A piece of information for the record: without "a liking", another idiom will appear--take to someone/something--meaning the same (I took to John immediately.) – Lamplighter Sep 19 '18 at 18:06
  • Not only is an instant liking to bullying odd—It's like saying he took an instant liking to biting his fingernails— but your use of at that is a tad off-kilter as well. Not only is this paint remover ineffective, it's far more expensive at that. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 19 '18 at 19:37

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