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I think both of these expressions are grammatically correct I just wan to know which one's more natural:

1) I don't like anyone calling me names/ I don't like anyone to call me names.

2) I don't like driving too fast/ I don't like to drive too fast.

Hi, Ashraful—Yes, both of the formulations you use in (1) and (2) are grammatically correct. As a native speaker, I find both formulations in (2) to be equally natural.

In (1), however, I find "I don't like anyone calling me names" to be more natural than "I don't like anyone to call me names." Instead of the second formulation, I would use the passive: "I don't like to be called names by anyone."

In (1), however, I find "I don't like anyone calling me names" to be more natural than "I don't like anyone to call me names." Instead of the second formulation, I would use the passive: "I don't like to be called names by anyone."

That's very interesting David, and in line with my own perception as a non-native. It seems to me that, when an object follows the verb "like," if "like" is in a simple tense (present or past) then the habitual meaning is best rendered by the -ing form of the verb. The infinitive will then be reserved for "would like" or for verbs like "want," which are used for more punctual or specific situations:

- I don't like anyone calling me names.
- I wouldn't like anyone to call me names.
- I don't want anyone to call me names.

When the object is absent, as you did in the passive version, both the gerund and the infinitive work with "like" in a simple tense to express habitual meaning:

- I don't like being called names by anyone.
- I don't like to be called names by anyone.

Hi, Ashraful—Yes, both of the formulations you use in (1) and (2) are grammatically correct. As a native speaker, I find both formulations in (2) to be equally natural.

In (1), however, I find "I don't like anyone calling me names" to be more natural than "I don't like anyone to call me names." Instead of the second formulation, I would use the passive: "I don't like to be called names by anyone."

Would it be a good idea to stick to the 'ing' version just to be on the safe side? Cause I'm sure it's is not the only sentence that sounds less natural in this formulation. 

That's very interesting David, and in line with my own perception as a non-native. It seems to me that, when an object follows the verb "like," if "like" is in a simple tense (present or past) then the habitual meaning is best rendered by the -ing form of the verb. The infinitive will then be reserved for "would like" or for verbs like "want," which are used for more punctual or specific situations:

- I don't like anyone calling me names.
- I wouldn't like anyone to call me names.
- I don't want anyone to call me names.

When the object is absent, as you did in the passive version, both the gerund and the infinitive work with "like" in a simple tense to express habitual meaning:

- I don't like being called names by anyone.
- I don't like to be called names by anyone.

Very nice observations, Gustavo. The sentences "I wouldn't like anyone to call me names" and "I don't want anyone to call me names" are indeed much better than "I don't like anyone to call me names."

That had occurred to me as well, but the reason for this seemed mysterious to me. I think your rationale makes sense. For the habitual meaning with "like," here is another way native speakers put the idea:

  • I don't like it when someone calls me names.
  • I don't like it when people call me names.
  • I don't like it when anyone calls me names.

Interestingly, that construction is not available with "want" ("I don't want it when someone calls me names"), and with "wouldn't like" the construction would change slightly, "if" replacing "when" and the past tense replacing the present:

  • I wouldn't like it if someone called me names.
  • I wouldn't like it if people called me names.
  • I wouldn't like it if anyone called me names.

Would it be a good idea to stick to the 'ing' version just to be on the safe side? Cause I'm sure it's is not the only sentence that sounds less natural in this formulation. 

Arashful, please be more specific. If you think that a sentence that I have told you is just as natural as another is not as natural as that other sentence, state what those sentences are and what makes you inclined to disagree with me.

If you have some notion that proper, natural English requires that "like" be followed by an -ing clause rather than by an infinitival clause, I can tell you unhesitatingly that you are quite mistaken.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Arashful, please be more specific. If you think that a sentence that I have told you is just as natural as another is not as natural as that other sentence, state what those sentences are and what makes you inclined to disagree with me.

If you have some notion that proper, natural English requires that "like" be followed by an -ing clause rather than by an infinitival clause, I can tell you unhesitatingly that you are quite mistaken.

I'm sorry I wasn't clear with my question. I meant this part:

In (1), however, I find "I don't like anyone calling me names" to be more natural than "I don't like anyone to call me names." Instead of the second formulation, I would use the passive: "I don't like to be called names by anyone."

You said that you find "I don't like anyone calling me names" more natural. So I though that it might be a goo idea to stick to this construction. 

 

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