I encounter many situations where I want to ask someone what they would like as opposed to what they need. For example, I wanted to find a restaurant for our class to have an end of the semester celebration. I wanted to ask my friend if she had any preferences (i.e. western-style food, chinese style food, other style food, location, cost, etc).
I didn't want to say: 你有什么要求？ I also didn't want to say 你喜欢什么样的饭馆？ How do you ask someone what kind of preferences they have for something?
Here's a better example. I want to rent a flat (i.e. apartment). My friend, a Chinese national, is helping me. He asks me: "你要租什么样的房间?". So at this point there are three classes (at least to my Western mind) of features that I could describe:
- What I must-have (我的要求)
- What I like (我喜欢的)
- What I'd prefer (?)
So I don't want to just say what I "like" because I'm not sure how my friend will interpret that (i.e. I think he will interpret that as a must-have) when in reality I have a list of prioritized preferences where I'm willing to give some up because I know that finding the perfect place isn't possible (for the amount of money that I have). Also, I don't feel that 'like' (i.e. 喜欢） really describes the categorization. For example I like vanilla ice cream, the Golden State Warriors, and comic books. There's nothing that I "like" when it comes to searching for a flat.