Lilin from China wants to know the meanings of the phrase “feel like.”
The phrase “feel like” can be confusing because it has two different meanings, both of which are very commonly used.
First, “feel like” is used to mean being in the mood for something or wanting to do something. We can ask, “Do you feel like seeing a movie tonight?” meaning “Are you in the mood to see a movie tonight?” or “Do you want to see a movie tonight?” We use this phrase all the time in conversation to express our preferences:
- “I feel like having chicken for dinner.”
- “Do you feel like going swimming?”
- “I feel like staying home instead of going to a party tonight.”
- “I feel like telling my boss what I really think of her!”
A different way to use “feel like” is to mean that someone or something is similar to someone or something else. When we say, “I feel like an idiot or a fool” we mean that we feel stupid, as though we are a person who is an idiot or a fool. However, we can use it to express many different things:
- “I feel like a queen in this new dress.”
- “I feel like an idiot trying to learn to swim as an adult.”
- “On the first day in my new job, I felt like a baby taking his first steps.”
- “It’s November already, but it’s so hot, it feels like the middle of summer.”
The only way to know which meaning is being expressed is by looking at the context (the words around it).
Do you ever feel like banging your head against the wall in frustration because English feels like an impossible language to learn? I hope not!
Thanks, Lilin, for the question, and I hope this is helpful.