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In English, the phrase "I love chocolate" implies greater affinity for chocolate than "I like chocolate". The phrase "I adore chocolate" implies an even greater affinity. I think of the words having a kind of ordering: "like" < "love" < "adore".

I am aware of several words in Chinese that all mean "like; love; be fond of": 喜欢,爱,喜爱,喜好. Is there an ordering to these words? In other words, does one imply a greater amount of liking something than another?

If these words all carry the same weight, how would I convey the difference between "like", "love" and "adore" in Chinese?

4 Answers 4

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爱 means 'love'

  • 爱读书 = love to read (reading is a passion)

  • 爱旅游 = love to travel (traveling is a passion)

喜欢 means 'like' and is often used for 'love' in 爱's stead

  • 喜欢结交朋友 = like to make new friends (making new friends is a pleasant thing to do)

  • 喜欢读书 = like to read (reading is a pleasant thing to do)

喜爱(love/ like) is somewhere between 爱 and 喜欢

喜好 (love/ like to) is like 'having the hobby of' and it can be a noun for 'hobby' (嗜好) too

  • 喜好运动 = like playing sports (playing spot is like a hobby)

  • 喜好結交朋友 = like to make new friends (making new friends is like a hobby)

  • 运动是他的喜好 = playing sports is his hobby

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I don't think there's much difference among these three in terms of the strength of liking. But 爱 is stronger than all of them.

喜欢 is colloquial, used much more often than the other 2.

喜爱 and 喜好 are more literary, not often heard in everyday conversations, both can be used as noun or verb. Also you can add 爱好(hobby), which is exchangeable with 喜好.

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I generally agree with Jason's answer. 喜爱 and 喜好 have similar strengths with 喜欢, but they're often used in written Chinese. 喜爱 is more formal than 喜欢, and can be used in speeches and presentations. 喜好 is mostly used as a noun in modern Chinese.

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喜欢(like) - 爱(love) - 摯愛/最愛(the sincere love, love the most)

我喜欢她(I like her), 我爱她(I love her), 我摯爱她(I sincerely love her), 我最爱她(I love her the most).

In contrast:

我不喜欢她 = 我討厭她, 我厭惡她 = 我不爱她, 我最不喜欢她 = 我最討厭她, 我恨她.

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