I learnt that you say "I like cats" and "I like movies" and that you don't say "I like a cat" or "I like a movie". It makes sense to use the plural form when mentioning cats/movies in general and it is easy to understand.

However, how about this one?

  • I like to see a movie.
  • I like to see movies.

You never see two movies at a time, so "to like to see a movie" makes sense to me. Having said that, it feels strange to like seeing only one movie.

Which sentence sounds more natural?

  • 2
    We say watch movies more commonly.
    – fev
    Jan 14 at 11:45
  • That's irrelevant to the question and to see a movie is nothing wrong. I've seen many argue that you "see" a movie in a theatre and "watch" a movie at home. english.stackexchange.com/questions/6183/…
    – kuwabara
    Jan 14 at 11:55
  • 1
    Regarding see vs watch, you asked which sentence sounds more natural. In American English, it’s most natural to say "I like to watch movies" if you’re speaking in general. I only ever hear see in the context of going to see a single movie in a theater. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say "I like to see movies". Jan 15 at 2:25
  • 1
    With emphasis on the a, that would mean it's the only cat or movie that you like. (Do you like cats?) I like a cat; my other one's kind of a jerk.
    – Mazura
    Jan 15 at 5:54

3 Answers 3


In standard, and unremarkable English, "movies" would be normal. Using "a movie" sounds like there is only one movie you are talking about.

If you specify a particular time like "after work on Friday", then limiting it to "one" makes sense

I like to watch movies. (general)

I like to watch a movie on TV after work on Friday. (specific time)

And in some (socio-)dialects the form with "a" is more common.

The verb "watch" is better than "see", but both probably unnecessary (what else do you do with movies?)

  • This matches my intuitions. I think you'd also be more likely to use "a movie" when talking about going to the cinema, for the reason that it shows one movie at a time. But it's not a question of right or wrong.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 15 at 11:15
  • (BrE) I'd say 'watching movies' (well, 'films', but that's not my point) is more common, 'to watch' to me sounds either contrapositive to a suggestion that you don't like to, or like you're talking about a specific habit as in your second example - 'what do you do at the weekend?', 'I like to watch movies'.
    – OJFord
    Jan 15 at 17:32

We usually specify the object of regular / repeated actions like this in the plural, as per the usage chart below.

I did the chart for watch rather than see because the latter is far less common. OP is quite correct that many argue that you "see" a movie in a theatre and "watch" a movie at home, but the plurality of the object is the same regardless of the verb - which is usually an infinitive, but the continuous participle is also common.

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  • Oh, you are still active. It's been 10 years!
    – Kinzle B
    Jan 14 at 15:24
  • Not quite 10 years on ELL! Member for 9 years, 11 months. Longer on ELU, which I'd joined some time before ELL was created. Jan 14 at 15:42
  • Do you know StoneyB's real name? It would be great to be able to resume the contact.
    – Kinzle B
    Jan 14 at 16:20
  • I don't. But I think he is/was older than me, and he's not been here since late 2019, so perhaps old age and/or Covid is a factor in his non-appearance (I doubt "Monicagate" was the whole reason for him withdrawing, but who knows?). Jan 14 at 17:11

Good question! You would normally say “movies,” not “a movie.0

However, you can say something like

I like to see a movie sometimes.


I always like to watch a good movie!

which makes it clear, this is a habit of yours.

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