Using “I’d like”

Common idioms in English involve the words “would” and “like,” or the more informal, short version “’d” (i.e., “I’d,” “she’d,” “we’d,” etc.) and “like.”

Here are some meanings and uses of the phrase, “I’d like.”

Polite Offers and Requests

Generally, “’d like” is used to make polite offers or requests. For example:

  • I’d like some information, please.”
  • She’d like a glass of water.”

We use the to + infinitive form of a verb when it follows “’d like.” For example:

  • He’d like to place his order now.”
  • I’d like to talk to your manager.”

Be careful!

Note that “I’d like” is different from “I like.”I’d like” is used to make polite requests, but “I like” is used to express a general preference. For example, compare the following sentences:

  • “I like coffee.”
  • I’d like
  • I’d like to have a talk with you.”
  • “I like to have a talk with you.”

The first sentence makes a general statement that the speaker enjoys the taste of coffee. The second sentence makes a specific request for coffee. “I’d like coffee” means the same thing as “I want coffee.” However, “I’d like” is considered less direct and politer than “I want.”

Similarly, the third sentence makes a specific request to talk. However, the fourth sentence is simply incorrect: we would say “I like to talk with you” to show our preference for talking with a certain person.

Expressing Regret

When we want to say that we wanted to do something but were unable to, we say “I’d like to have” before a verb in the past tense. For example:

  • I’d like to have gone to the movies with you.”
  • I’d like to have started sooner than we did.”

As an Affirmation

We can use the phrase “I’d like to” on its own as an answer. For example:

  • Q: Are you interested in seeing the movie tonight?
  • A: I’d like to.

To Express Disbelief

Finally, we use the phrase “I’d like to see…” to say that you don’t belief something can happen. For example:

  • I’d like to see him try to get through our defenses.”
  • I’d like to see her say ‘no’ after all I’ve done for her.”
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