Expressing Likes & Dislikes

Welcome to today’s Lunchtime Lessons post. This week we are looking at different ways to express likes and dislikes. Our Lunchtime Lessons are free Online English classes where we look at areas of English which are often difficult for students.​
If you didn’t manage to join us for our live session, you can catch up with the highlights of the class below. If you’d like to join our live session for the chance to ask the teacher questions, you can book your place directly on our website. These classes are 100% free and are on Tuesdays at 12pm.

Expressing Likes & Dislikes
Welcome to today’s Lunchtime Lesson. Today we’re going to be doing a language focus. We’re going to be talking about language that we can use to express likes and dislikes.
I want to talk about likes and dislikes, because I’ve noticed that learners often stick to the same four verbs: love, like, don’t mind and hate. But there are so many more ways to express your likes and dislikes. If you are planning to take an exam, this is actually a very important point. In the first part of the speaking test, you’re very often asked about your personal interests or your hobbies. That’s where you can bring in some amazing vocabulary about likes and dislikes. But it’s also useful for your speaking in general to express your own point of view or how you feel about something. This vocabulary can also be used in informal writing. So, for example, an email or a letter to a friend.
Take a couple of minutes and try to think of as many expressions for likes and dislikes as you can.
To show you in how many different ways you can express likes and dislikes, I made a list myself. Did you have similar ones? Or even one I didn’t think of? If so share it with us and leave a comment.
My list:


  • It’s not bad
  • I can’t stand
  • I don’t mind
  • I’m crazy about
  • I think it’s OK
  • I don’t care
  • It’s great
  • It’s alright
  • I’m fond of
  • It’s awful
  • It’s not my cup of tea
  • I’m not convinced
  • I’m keen on
  • It gets on my nerves
  • It drives me crazy
  • I can’t get enough
  • It’s right up my street

We now have a beautiful collection of language that we can use to express our likes and dislikes. I’m sure you’ll agree that those expressions are much more interesting than love, like, don’t mind and hate. To successfully use this new vocabulary, let’s think about where we would put them on a scale from zero to hundred. 100% is love and 0% is hate. Some expressions might even be somewhere in between. I would also like you to think if any of those expressions need to be followed by an object. For example, it’s not bad, doesn’t need an object. But in our second example, we need an object. I can’t stand IT, it needs to be followed by something. To know if an expression is followed by an object or not is very important if you want to take an exam. It’s often tested in the Use of English questions in Cambridge exams. 

A few some things I’d like to point out: If we look at the expressions I have at 100%, the ones in the top row are slightly stronger than those in the second row. I’d like to pick up on It’s great. Great is an expression that native speakers use all the time but English learners don’t. Try to use it. It’s an easy word to bring into your vocabulary and will make your speech much more interesting.


I’m fond of it means you enjoy something. But you can also use it to say how you feel about a person in terms of relationships, like I’m really fond of my nephew. In that case it means that I have a lot of affection for my nephew.
From the expressions at 50% I’d like to pick out it’s not bad. Here, you really need to watch your intonation. Depending on your intonation the intensity of this expression changes. I’d recommend watching the video to hear out the difference.

I also want to focus on I don’t mind and I don’t care, as I notice that a lot of people struggle with them. You can say I don’t mind cooking. But you can also use I don’t mind as an answer. What would you like for dinner? I don’t mind means you’re happy with anything. But if you say I don’t care, it has a negative touch. It’s like you’re not interested in it at all. So be careful when using those expressions.

Another phrase where intonation is very important is it’s alright. Depending on your intonation it can mean it’s nothing special or it’s quite good. Check out the video to hear the different intonations.
When we look at the expressions at 0% I like you to focus on awful. That’s another one that native speakers use all the time but students hardly ever do. And remember your intonation. Whenever you use a strong adjective like this, intonation is very important as it needs to reflect the fact that it’s a strong word.
I highly recommend watching the video, so that you can repeat the phrases after Claire to get the intonation right. You’ll also benefit from a more detailed explanation of all the expressions. To do that, start the video at 5.50 minutes.
As there are quite a few expressions followed by an object, I’d like to remind you of a simple rule: If the verb functions as a noun use the gerund. So, it’s I’m crazy about swimming and not I’m crazy about to swim. Please remember this. Especially if you have a Latin-based language like Italian, Spanish or French as you do the exact opposite and use the infinitive. If you’d like to brush up your knowledge about gerunds, check out this blog post.
So, let’s practice those new expressions a bit. Here are some different topics. Use the new vocabulary and express how you feel about them. For example: I’m really keen on getting my hair cut. I love going to the hairdresser because it’s a little bit of luxury in my day.

likes 3
Feel free to leave us a comment with your sentences. I actually highly recommend writing sentences with all the expressions, to make sure you know how to use them. And remember, you don’t need to learn all of them. Just pick four or five you like and are easy to remember for you. Then try to bring those into your speaking. Make it a language  challenge and try to use those words this week.
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