Want means to wish, desire, need and sometimes can be a little direct, or impolite; would like is the polite form for want.
For example, when someone asks you what you would like to drink – which reply sounds more polite to you?
- I want an apple juice. [Could be impolite, depending on the situation]
- I would like an apple juice. [Polite]
We use would like to say more politely what we want; verbs that follow would like are in the to + Infinitive form, for example:
- I would like to read that book.
- I’d like to drink a coffee.
The short form of would like is ’d like, for example,
- I’d like a cup of tea.
- I’d like to fix those droids.
Be careful with using the Gerund (-ing form of the verb)
As mentioned previously, we do not use the gerund, as the meaning changes:
- I would like to swim. (This means right now I have a wish or desire to swim.)
- I’d like swimming if I could actually swim. (I would like the act of swimming, if I could.)