Why is "like to swim" possible, but "enjoying to swim" is not?


I read that like swimming and like to swim "are often interchangeable":

[...] While he likes to swim always means that he enjoys propelling himself through the water using his own body power, he likes swimming could also be used if he enjoys watching it as a spectator.

However, while liking and enjoying don't seem to be very different (the former meaning "find agreeable, enjoyable, or satisfactory" and the latter meaning "take delight or pleasure in (an activity or occasion)"), enjoy to swim is ungrammatical.

Therefore, I would like to know what the difference is between liking and enjoying in reference to the fact that, while like to swim is possible, **enjoy to swim* is not.

Thank you.


Posted 2013-10-14T14:27:00.777


Question was closed 2013-10-15T14:32:37.590

Unfortunately, there's no rhyme, reason, or rule to it. See also “I end up studying English” vs. “I end up to study English” as well as When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive? at EL&U and Wiktionary's list of catenative verbs.

– choster – 2013-10-14T23:08:09.540



I'm sorry, but the answer is that "while like to swim is possible, *enjoy to swim is not".

I realise that this is just repeating the last part of your question, but there is no more helpful answer. I could restate it in technical language ("like subcategorises for a gerund or a to-infinitive, while enjoy subcategorises only for a gerund") but that wouldn't explain anything.

Colin Fine

Posted 2013-10-14T14:27:00.777

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