What is the difference between "do you like" and "would you like"?

36

5

Do you like candy?
Would you like some candy?

Do you like walking?
Would you like to go for a walk?

What is the difference? And are they the same or not? Do they any use in different situations?

Ice Girl

Posted 2014-07-23T18:55:41.143

Reputation: 4 045

The two answers so far are excellent. I'd just like to point out that "Would you like" can also be used as an ordinary conditional as in, "If it stops raining, would you like to go for a walk?" – David Richerby – 2014-07-24T09:18:39.850

1To me this isn't a true conditional, but rather a softer version of "do you want to go for a walk?" A true conditional would be "If it stops raining, would you consider going for a walk? -or- ...would you be up for a walk? However "would you like" is a mitigated form used for proposing or offering. – CocoPop – 2014-07-24T17:07:43.257

Answers

49

Asking someone do you like is asking whether they like it, and asking them would you like is offering it to them.

Here's how one would answer:

A: Do you like candy?

B: Yes, I like candy.

And:

A: Would you like some candy? (Do you want some candy right now?)

B: No thanks. (Not now.)

ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

Posted 2014-07-23T18:55:41.143

Reputation: 2 202

34

They are not the same:

Do you like is used to ask if someone generally enjoys or is partial to something.

Would you like is a politer way of asking "do you want" when offering something. In English, as in many languages, the verb "want" is considered very direct, and the conditional serves to soften it a bit.

CocoPop

Posted 2014-07-23T18:55:41.143

Reputation: 6 719

1nice reasoning on why to use would ( and avoid want) – Atur – 2014-07-25T13:02:52.313

1Thank you. The same thing happens in German - möchte, French - voudrais, Spanish - quisiera, Russian бы хотел, etc. I seems to be universal :) – CocoPop – 2014-07-25T13:05:44.267

3

The other answers are not incorrect. They are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

However, there are cases that can blur the lines between the two. Consider the following instances:

Bob: Man, I'm starving.

Alice: Do you like pizza?

In this case, Alice is asking "do you like" but because Bob has already said he's looking to have some food, it is implied that Alice has some pizza to alleviate Bob's hunger.

This can also be unsolicited, such as

Alice grabs plate of nachos and motions them towards Bob

Alice: Do you like nachos?

Here Alice still has something to offer Bob, using "Do you like". There's a number of replies. A simple "no" would be inappropriate: Bob should indicate whether he is stating he doesn't like nachos, or whether he just doesn't want any right now.

These are both technically incorrect on Alice's part. (Get it together, Alice!) However, they're common enough that I wouldn't consider them fringe cases.

corsiKa

Posted 2014-07-23T18:55:41.143

Reputation: 362

In the former case, for Alice to say "would you like some pizza" might be misconstrued as an immediate offer of food; in the latter case, it might be misconstrued as implying that Alice prepared the nachos in the expectation that Bob liked them. Both offer easy paths for the conversation that avoid awkwardness whether or not Bob likes nachos. – supercat – 2014-07-25T00:00:47.660

The difference is that these phrases are using a lot of subtext. They're actually violating the "correct" use of the phrases, but doing so deliberately to convey/imply extra non-verbal information. This is the sort of thing that would confuse a ELL so good to know about, but is probably not helpful for understanding the difference between the phrases and when they should be used. – SevenSidedDie – 2014-07-25T14:42:10.067

In the end, though, it doesn't matter. Bob got tired of Alice always sending him encrypted letters and they have since broke up. – corsiKa – 2014-12-31T21:58:33.147

3

Would you like is hypothetical. it could be an offer but not necessarely, it refers to something that you think you will like : would you like to be rich ? would you like some food?

Do you like is more concrete and based on knowledge. Do you like food? do you like to be rich? the person that asks you the question assumes you have experience in this field.

user1841243

Posted 2014-07-23T18:55:41.143

Reputation: 131