I would like to play tennis today

I like to play tennis today

Would you tell me which one you would rather use?

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I would like to play tennis today.

Would like indicates that you're talking about a possibility that may or may not happen, and you're expressing your desire. That's appropriate for talking about a specific time frame, like today. The word would other parallels other constructions that describe a consequence of a hypothetical condition, like “If it is convenient to play tennis today, then I would like to.”

When you say “I like to…”, you are describing your desires or your personality in general, not in relation to a specific time frame and not as a consequence of some hypothetical condition. It’s ungrammatical to say “today” here, because stating a specific time frame conflicts with the timeless meaning of “I like to…”

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    All true, although you could say something like, "I like to play tennis on Tuesdays." – J.R. Dec 26 '14 at 12:39
  • Now, what is the difference and which one you use?I like to play/ like playing tennis on tuesday – nima Dec 26 '14 at 13:27
  • Or, what a bout these? I like to play it/ I like playing it. – nima Dec 26 '14 at 13:29
  • @J.R. Yup! “Eternal time” can be subtle. “I like to play tennis between the beginning of time and the end of time” would be right in the middle of the grey area. Seriously, maybe there's a nicer way to explain the “eternal present”, but I can’t think of one right now. Any ideas? Maybe another answer? – Ben Kovitz Dec 26 '14 at 13:29
  • @nima Like playing vs. like to play is the question of gerund vs. infinitive. Both of those are correct, but I don't think there's a general rule. This question has a big list of verbs. – Ben Kovitz Dec 26 '14 at 13:31

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