I often use this:

I like him/her

But sometimes, I hear people say:

I liked him/her

But the person referred to is not dead/deceased, so why use the past tense?

  • 1
    Without proper context, it's always hard to give a specific answer. But perhaps it's a simple case of the past tense, wherein a person says he liked him/her in the past and doesn't do so now. Aug 10 '14 at 9:42

Sometimes the past tense is used after the first encounter to express one's impression of a person:

(After dinner)

A: So what did you think of Ryan?

B: I liked him. (=I thought he was nice)

(After a lecture)

A: I hate that professor. He's so scattered.

B: I liked him. I think this is going to be a great class. (=first class with him)

(After a concert)

A: Sting is great in concert!

B: I liked him too. I'm going to buy that album. (=first live Sting concert)

  • your second answer, A took the class before right ?
    – f855a864
    Aug 10 '14 at 15:23
  • 1
    Yes, most likely. Otherwise she would have said "hated."
    – CocoPop
    Aug 10 '14 at 15:24

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