Tema 25- Expresión de la opinión, el deseo, la preferencia y el estado de ánimo

Tema 25- Expresión de la opinión, el deseo, la preferencia y el estado de ánimo

Verbs that express all these meanings (opinion, desire, preference and state of mind are the following ones: care, like, love, hate, prefer and wish among others.

Care and like:

  1. Care for+ noun/gerund is very similar to like + noun/ gerund

– I don´ t care for it

– I don´ t like it very much

Care in the interrogative carries a hint of doubt

– Does Ann care for horror movies?

The speaker thinks that she probably doesn´ t or is surprised that she apparently does

  1. Would care for+ noun and would care + infinitive are similar to would like + noun/ infinitive. But would care for is not normally used in the affirmative and offers expressed by “would you care for?” are less confident that “would you like?” offers

– Would you care for a lift, Ann? (Perhaps his car is uncomfortable and she likes comfort).

– Would you care to see my photos, Ann? (He isn´ t sure that she´ ll want to see them).

  1. Would have cared for and would have liked. Both refer to actions which didn´ t take place

– I´ d have liked to go with Tom

  1. Care about means feel concerned. It is used chiefly in the negative and interrogative. I don´ t care about is similar to I don´ t mind

– I don´ t care about /mind the expenses

  1. Care, like, love, hate and prefer when used in the conditional, are usually followed by the infinitive

– I´ d hate to spend Christmas alone

– I´d love to come with you

But would care for and would like can be followed by gerunds when we are not thinking of a particular action but are considering the subject´ s tastes generally: Here they are replaceable by would enjoy.

– I wonder if Tom would care for hang-gliding

Hate and prefer can be used similarly but are less common.

  1. When used in the present and past tenses, care for, like (=enjoy), love, hate and prefer are usually followed by the gerund

– He prefers/ preferred walking to cycling

– They love/loved wind-surfing

But the infinitive is not impossible and is particularly common in American English

– They love/loved to run on the sands.

  1. However, like can also mean think wise or right and is then always followed by the infinitive

– She likes them to play in the garden (She thinks they are safe there).

  1. We have to notice the difference between the 2 negative forms.

– I didn´t like to open the letter

It means I didn´ t open it because I didn´ t think it right to do so but:

– I didn´t like opening the letter

means I opened it reluctantly

Would like and want:

  1. Sometimes both can be used:
    1. In requests and questions about requests:

– I´ d like some raspberries, please

– I want some raspberries, please

“I would like” is usually more polite than “I want”. “Would you like?” is much more polite than “Do you want?”, “Would you like?” can imply a willingness to satisfy the other person´ s wishes, “Do you want?” doesn´t imply this. When dealing with a customer or client we will use “Would you like?”

– Would you like to speak to Mr. Jones?

    1. When we are talking about our wishes, we can use either would like or want in affirmative, interrogative or negative. There is no difference in meaning, though “ I want” usually sounds more confident than “I would like” and “ I want” is not normally used for unrealisable wishes.

– I would like to live on Mars.

  1. They are not interchangeable in the following uses:

1.In invitations we use “Would you like?” not “Do you want?”

– Would you like a cup of tea?

“Do you want?” used here would be a question only, not an invitation

2. wouldn´ t like and don´ t want are different. Don´ t want means “ have no wish for” but wouldn´ t like means would dislike

wouldn´ t like cannot therefore be used in answer to invitations or offers as it would be impolite, instead we use don´ t want

– Would you like some more coffee? No, I don´ t more any more thanks.

3. In indirect speech want becomes wanted, but would like remains unchanged

– Tom said: “ I would like/ want to see it”.

– Tom said he would like/ wanted to see it.

4.Would like has 2 past forms: would like + perfect infinitive and would have liked + infinitive/ noun/pronoun. These forms express unrealised wishes only.

– I´ d like to have gone skiing (the regret is made now).

– I´ d have liked to go skiing/ a day´ s skiing (the regret was made at that moment).

Would rather/sooner and prefer/would prefer

There is no difference between would rather and would sooner, but would rather is more frequent heard.

  1. Would rather/sooner is followed by the bare infinitive when the subject of Would rather/sooner is he same as the subject of the following action:

– Tom would rather read than talk

  1. Would rather/sooner + infinitive can be used instead of prefer + gerund for present actions

– Tom prefers reading to talking

The structures are: Would rather + infinitive + than + infinitive but prefer + gerund + to + gerund

  1. Prefer can also be followed by a noun, but would rather always requires a verb

– He prefers wine to beer (he would rather drink wine than beer)

– I prefer tennis to golf (I´ d rather play tennis than golf)

  1. Would rather + infinitive cannot express preferences in the past. So the past equivalent of “Tom would rather read than talk” would be: “Tom preferred reading to talking”.
  1. Would rather + infinitive can also be used instead of prefer + infinitive

– I´ d rather fly than go by sea.

– I´ d prefer to fly

Note that with would prefer, only the preferred action is mentioned. If we want to mention both actions, we must use would rather

Similarly with nouns:

– Would you like some gin?

– I´ d prefer a coffee

– I´ d rather have coffee than gin

  1. Both Would rather/sooner and would prefer can be followed by the perfect infinitive

– We went by sea but I´ d rather have gone by air/ I´ d prefer to have gone by air

This is similar to would like+ perfect infinitive, which expresses an unfulfilled wish.

  1. Subject + Would rather/sooner is followed by subject + past tense (subjunctive) when the 2 subject are different

– I´ d rather you paid cash.

Note the use of would rather + subject + didn´ t for negative preference:

– I´ d rather he didn´ t paint it

However, prefer as like can take object + infinitive

– I´ d prefer him not to paint it


It can be followed directly by an infinitive or by object + infinitive

– I wish to make a complaint

In less formal language we would use want or would like:

– I want/ would like to speak to Ann

Want and would like can be followed directly by nouns

– He wanted a single room.

Wish has a more restrictive use: we can wish s.o. luck/success/ a happy Christmas

– He wished me luck

Wish+ for can be followed by a noun/ pronoun, but unusually implies that the subject has little hope of obtaining his wish. It is chiefly used in exclamations

– How he wished for a drink! (Presumably he had no hope of getting one).

1. Wish+ subject + unreal past

Wish (that) + subject + a past tense (subjunctive) expresses a regret about a present situation

– I wish I knew his address (I´ m sorry I don´ t know his address)

Wish can be put into the past without changing the subjunctive:

– He wished he knew his address

Unreal past tenses do not change in indirect speech

– “I wish I lived nearer my work” he said

– He said he wished I lived nearer my work

2. Wish (that)+ subject + past perfect (subjunctive) expresses a regret about a past situation

– I wish you had written to him (I´ m sorry you didn´ t write to him)

Wished can replace wish without changing the subjunctive:

– I wished I hadn´ t spent so much money

These verbs will be reported unchanged

– “I wished I had take his advice” she said. She (said she) wished she had taken his advice

If only can be used exactly in the same way. It has the same meaning as wish but is more dramatic

– If only we knew where to look for him!

– If only she had asked someone´ s advice!

3. Wish+ subject + would can be used similarly, but only with actions which the subject van control, that is, actions he could change if he wished.

– I wish he would write more often = I´ m sorry he isn´ t willing to write more often

The subject of wish cannot be the same as the subject of would, as this would be illogical. We cannot have I wish I would.

Wish+ subject + would can also be used to express dissatisfaction with the present and a wish for change in the future:

– I wish he would answer my letter (I have been waiting for an answer for a long time)

But the speaker is normally not very hopeful that the change will take place.

When there is a personal subject, the action is in the subject´ s control but wish + subject + would can sometimes be used with inanimate subjects

– I wish the sun would come out

“I wish you would” is a possible request form. There, there is no feeling that the person addressed will refuse to perform the request, but there is often a feeling that this person is annoying or disappointing the speaker in some way:

– I wish you would help me (implies you should have offered to help me)

– I wish you would stop humming (implies that the speaker was irritated by the noise)

However, the expression “I wish you would” can be used in answer to an offer of help and does not then imply any dissatisfaction

– Shall I help you check the accounts? I wish you would (I´ d be glad of your help)

If only + would can replace wish + would:

– If only he would enjoy our party!

Ways of expressing opinion and emotions:

There are usually expressed with that-clauses.

  1. Noun clauses (that-clauses) as subject of a sentence:

Sentences with noun clauses subjects usually begin with it:

– It is unbelievable that Tom can´ t come


The usual construction is it + be/seem + adjective + noun clause

– It seem/is strange that there are no lights on.

An alternative construction is it + be/seem + a + noun + noun clause. Nouns that can be used here include mercy, miracle, nuisance, pity, shame, relief, wonder, a good thing, a good idea

– It is a great pity (that) they didn´ t get married.

  1. That-clauses after certain adjectives/participles:

The construction here is subject + be+ adjective/ past participle + noun clause

– I am delighted that you passed your exam.

This construction can be used with:

a) Adjectives expressing emotions: glad, pleased, relieved, sorry, happy, sad, angry, delighted, frightened.

b) Adjectives/ participles expressing anxiety, confidence etc. afraid, anxious, aware, certain, confident, convinced, sure, worried

– I´ m afraid I can´ t come till next week

  1. Noun clauses as objects of verbs:

That clauses follow verbs such as: allege, acknowledge, admit, agree, believe (wh-), confess, consider (wh-), declare, estimate, feel, find (wh-), imagine (wh-), inform, insist, make out (state), reveal (wh-), say (wh-), state (wh-), suggest (wh-), think (wh-), explain.

– They alleged/ made out that they has been unjustly dismissed

Verbs marked (wh-) can also be followed by noun clauses beginning with wh- words: what, when, where, who, why, how

– He revealed how happy he was

So and not representing a that-clause:

After believe, expect, suppose and think we use:

– Will Tom be at the party? I think he will

                                                        I expect so

                                                        I suppose so

                                                        I think so

                                                        I believe so

For the negative we use:

  1. A negative verb with so:

– Will the scheme be a success? I don´ t believe so

                                                                 I don´ t expect so

                                                                 I don´ t suppose so

                                                                 I don´ t think so

  1. An affirmative verb with not:

– I won´t take long, will it? I believe not

                                                      I expect not

                                                      I suppose not

                                                      I think not

So and not can be used similarly after hope and be afraid (be sorry to say).

– Is Peter coming with us? I hope so

                                                      I´ m afraid so

The negative here is made with an affirmative verb + not

– Have you got a work permit? I´ m afraid not

So and not can be used after say and tell + object:

– How do you know there is going to be a demonstration? Jack said so

                                                                                                                       Jack told me so

For the negative:

– Tom didn´ t say so

– Tom didn´ t tell me so