Look at this sentence ...

I'd like some typing papers.

Now, look at this another sentence...

I'd like to have some typing papers.

There is no difference. Both mean the same - I want some typing papers. However, somehow, to me, I'd like [what you want] is half-baked and unsatisfying; and the complete sentence (or better sounding) is I'd like to have [what you want].

The confusion occurs when I read that like (verb) means -to have something.

like (v) (#5) -want to have AS IN I'd like a beer now.

So, when I say that I'd like to have -does it become redundant? Because I'd like includes want to have.

So the confusion...

Does it make any difference - I'd like and I'd like to...

In some instances, I'd like does not seem (to me) fit at all...

I'd like a goal defined before we begin OVER I'd like to have a goal defined...
I'd like see how it functions before buying it OVER I'd like to see how... (-much better I guess!).

  • 1
    What's funny is that this is done so intuitively, even you use it without realising. You say Both mean the same - I want some typing papers while I want to have some typing papers is similarly more descriptive. I'm not nitpicking, I just think it's interesting. :)
    – Lee White
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:33

3 Answers 3


I’d like X expresses a desire or preference for X, and ordinarily everything else necessary for your hearer to understand what you mean can be inferred from context. “Have” is just fluff: presumably you don’t want to “have” some typing paper, you want to type on it. If you tell your office manager “I’d like some typing paper”, she will understand that you want her to give you some typing paper, and if you say the same thing to a sales clerk at Office Max, she will understand that you are ready to purchase some typing paper.

This not to imply that you should be careful to omit the to have—it may be unnecessary, but it doesn’t do any harm.

Note, however, that if you employ a verb with like, it must be a marked infinitive:

I’d like to see how it functions.
I’d like you to get hold of Bob and see what he thinks. (In this case the marker distributes over both infinitives)

Your other example is a little more complicated. What you want is a defined goal (the participle is postposited because it bears a postposited adjunct). This may be expressed a number of ways:

I’d like to have a goal defined before we begin.
I'd like to get a goal defined before we begin.
I’d like a goal to be defined before we begin.
I’d like us to define a goal before we begin.

They all amount to pretty much the same thing, and are equivalent to “I’d like a goal defined before we begin.”

  • +1 Note, however, that if you employ a verb with like, it must be a marked infinitive - a single line clarifies my doubt. As always, you are StoneyB! :)
    – Maulik V
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:39

The point you are raising is intresting, but I don't perceive the "redundancy" you are hinting at. "I'd like" in the instance you state means , "I show a preference for", for a beer vs a cola or for having a beer vs not having it. Very subtle differences but intresting ones.



If you look at Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary you see what verb constructions are usual with to like.

  • thanks for the link. I check. But you could have better post this as a comment.
    – Maulik V
    Apr 4, 2014 at 5:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .