General Writing and Grammar Help/Want to - willing to

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there a difference between "I would like to do something" and "I am willing to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is there a difference between "I would like to do something" and "I am willing to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Here is the difference:

"Liking to do something" is a wish.  Whether or not the wish comes true depends on your circumstances.  You may "like to climb Mt. Everest," but it is highly unlikely that your wish will come true.

"Willing to do something" means that you are capable of doing it, particularly if you are ASKED by someone else.  

Would you please give me some examples?

EXAMPLES:

I would like to visit Paris next year.
She would like to marry Jack, and she is hoping that he will ask her.

I am willing to work every weekend, if my boss asks me to.

There is an old saying that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  The saying means that someone is willing to take some action, but he does not, because physically, he is unable to perform what he mentally wants to do.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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