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I'm learning some different ways to say "I like", and to my mind right now, keen on, fond of, and like are pretty much the same. However, since I almost never said keen on and fond of before, I'm afraid that they might not be appropriate in certain contexts. For example, maybe you only use them with objects and hobbies, not people or phenomena, to name but a few.

Is this one of them? In which situations would you advise not using "keen on" and "fond of" to mean "like"?

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    Added the "transatlantic differences" tag since "keen on" is British English.
    – TimR
    Commented May 16 at 10:03
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    @TimR Is it possible that "keen on" in the positive sense is rarer in AmE, but that in the negative (for instance, "not too keen on") may occur with frequency? Phrases like "not too keen on that idea" feel fairly natural to this northeastern AmE speaker, but "keen on" only seems natural (and still antiquated or intentionally old fashioned) in someone having affection for another person (for instance "Joe's keen on Sally" (which is a usage mentioned in Kate Bunting's BrE answer, too)). Commented May 17 at 11:40
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    @JoshuaTaylor That could very well be the case. I'm not too keen on driving in this weather sounds natural enough to me. Sounds a little dated, though. Something you'd find in The Hardy Boys.
    – TimR
    Commented May 17 at 11:58

4 Answers 4

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In American English, "a (big) fan of" and "not a (big) fan of" can be used to express like and dislike.

He's a big fan of taking the trolley into Boston. One comes along every 10 or 15 minutes.

No, thanks. I'm not a fan of flavored coffees.

In American English, "fond of" is used in much the same way as it's used in British English.

He's really fond of the new girl whose family moved here this past summer. They're lab partners in Biology class.

My nana's really fond of chocolate cupcakes, so we always bring her one when we visit.

P.S. As @JoshuaTaylor points out in a comment at the top, "not too keen on" is used in American English synonymously with "not a big fan of" :

I'm not too keen on driving in this weather.

I'm not a big fan of driving in this weather.

But it's not used in the positive sense and it is not used to express affection/lack of affection.

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  • As Kate said, you are "fond of" a kind of food or something that you do, and you also add people whom you like to the list. So, are these the only cases when you use "fond of", or can you use it with whatever you are affectionate towards? The latter seems to be @Raestloz's opinion. Commented May 16 at 14:19
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    "affection" and "innocent vices" are the operative principles. But it would be rather strange, for example, for a native speaker of American English to say "I'm fond of zombie movies" or "I'm fond of WWE wrestling". fondness doesn't walk hand-in-hand with the gruesome or the violent no matter how much you like them, even though one might consider those entertainments rather innocent vices.
    – TimR
    Commented May 16 at 14:28
  • Interesting! So I would say you have to really love cloudy weather, to a point where you feel a little bit emotional in cloudy days, to say "I'm fond of cloudy weather". Am I getting closer? Commented May 16 at 14:44
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    "I'm a fan of cloudy weather" or "I love cloudy weather" are more likely to come out of the mouth of a speaker of AmE than "fond of cloudy weather". "fondness" has a certain gentleness to it. Maybe a romantic could say "I'm fond of gray skies." But fondness doesn't go with ardor or thrills of any kind. Not even the most ardent storm-chaser would say "I'm fond of tornadoes" and a person who loves rollercoasters would not say "I'm fond of that feeling when your stomach feels like it's going to come up and out your esophagus."
    – TimR
    Commented May 16 at 14:54
  • XD Thanks a lot! Final question: do you use I'm a fan of and I'm into with "V-ing", or do you only use them with normal nouns only? Commented May 16 at 16:26
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I (British English speaker) wouldn't use either to talk about the weather.

Keen on means 'enthusiastic about' - "I'm very keen on tennis" - or 'strongly attracted to [a person]' - "John's very keen on Jane".

Fond of usually implies affection, although you can also use it of a food that you like or something you often do - "He's very fond of quoting Shakespeare".

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"like" and "fond" have different nuances

"like" brings joy, but "fond" adds warmth on top of it. If you use "fond of cloudy days" that means you're emotionally attached to cloudy days

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I agree with the other answers that "keen on" and "fond of" tend to imply affection rather than merely liking something. For example "Bob is fond of his sister" or "Jane is keen on Roger".

If you want to make your speech more interesting you could employ litotes which are a form of understatement.

For example:

I don't mind cloudy days.

Making that pudding was no small achievement for me.

Another possible way of expressing "like" in this context is "enjoy", for example:

I enjoy cloudy days.

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