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March 27, 2017

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As many of you know, I'm an ESL Teacher in Taiwan. I came across a sentence that does not sound right, but I am wondering if it's grammatically correct.

"I like to have cats."

I've NEVER heard it said like that before, but I cannot think of any reason why it's wrong. Is it wrong or is it something we simply would not normally say?

  • English Grammar - ,

    Slight correction: It was, "I like to have a cat." Somehow, that sounds worse.

  • English Grammar - ,

    The issue here is about the tense of the verb. It'd be better to use more of a "possible in the future" tense, I think.

    I would like to have a cat.
    or
    I'd like to have a cat.

    I think many ESL students (and sometimes others) miss that 'd sound because it's so slight when we speak (rather like missing the d on "iced tea" or the d on "he's supposed to..." Somehow that sound disappears when we speak quickly and that transfers into incorrect spelling and/or tense.

  • English Grammar - ,

    Here is a website that may help:'

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/verbs.htm#tense
    Click on different words in the image of the brain for different discussions about verbs. Click on Auxiliary and then scroll down to Uses of Will and Would.

  • English Grammar - ,

    Matt, another possibility would be
    " I like having a cat".

    Then "having a cat" becomes the gerund phrase direct object.

    This construction is often used.

    I like eating icecream.
    I like playing soccer.

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