‘Like more’ vs. ‘like better’, ‘like the most’ vs. ‘like most’, ‘like the best’ vs. ‘like best’

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

Both “like more” and “like better” (as in the sentence “I like apples more/better than oranges”) are widespread, but “like more” is usually considered more formal and “like better” more informal (some British English speakers incorrectly consider “like better” to be an Americanism, even though “like something better” predates “like something more” by several centuries and is common in British literature). To summarize:

I like apples more than oranges. (correct, more formal)
I like apples better than oranges. (correct, may be considered colloquial by some)

If you use either of the two, you will be understood. If you stick to “like more”, you also don’t run the risk of sounding too informal (or colloquial in the UK).

Expressions “to like most” and “to like best” seem to be acceptable both in American and British English. Some speakers use the variant with “the”, i.e. “to like the most/best”, but others consider it less grammatical. It is therefore advisable to stick to the variant without “the” (which is also much more common in literature):

I like him most. (correct, may sound slightly more formal)
I like him best. (correct, may sound slightly more informal)
I like him the most. (considered less grammatical by some)
I like him the best. (considered less grammatical by some)

This article was based on my guide to the most common mistakes in English, which explains many similar topics. Why don’t you check it out?

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