How To Talk About Love

How To Talk About Love

What Is Love?

The romantic holidays, Valentine’s Day & White Day, are coming and love is in the air here at English Stripped Bare. So, let’s talk about love.

Even though English is not a Romance language*, we can still brush up on some of the finer grammar points to help express our feelings.

*Romance languages derive from Latin, and have nothing to do with romance.


ここ、English Stripped Bareも愛に包まれています♪



How To Talk: Like or Love

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi - Idioms In Love
Using a PS2 Controller & Playing Video Games (

Let’s start off easy.

  • I like your new apartment.  
  • I love your new apartment.  

Liking the apartment isn’t as strong as loving it, but both sentences show positivity. 

Native speakers use both ‘like’ and ‘love’ to talk about what they have affections towards. ‘Like’ is generally weaker than ‘love,’ but native speakers use both quite freely. No need to stress about which one you use, especially when talking about objects, places, or activities.

  • I like/love Osaka. 
  • I like/love playing video games. 

If you need take it up a notch, add the adverb ‘really’ to strengthen the sentence.

  • I really like/love this car.
  • I really like/love Osaka.
  • I really like/love playing video games.

When applied to people, ‘like’ and ‘love’ change a little. To like someone means you enjoy that person on a friendship level. To love someone means you have a closer relationship to that person.

◆I like you. = We are friends.

◆I love you. = I have strong feelings towards you.


  • I like your new apartment.  あなたの新しいアパートが好きです。
  • I love your new apartment.   あなたの新しいアパートが大好きです。

LikeはLoveほど強めな表現ではありませんが、両方とも肯定感をあらわします。ネイティブスピーカーは、‘Like’ と ‘Love’ を使いながら、好感がもてることについて話します。一般的にLikeはLoveより弱めになりますが、両方ともよく使われます。もの、場所、行為について話すのでしたらどちらを使っていただいても問題ありません。

  • I like/love this car. 
  • 私はこの車が好きだ/大好きだ。
  • I like/love Osaka. 
  • 私は大阪が好きだ/大好きだ。
  • I like/love playing video games. 
  • 私はビデオゲームをすることが好きだ/大好きだ。

もう一段階アップさせたいようでしたら、副詞の ‘really’ をいれ、文章を強調しましょう。

  • I really like/love this car.  私は本当にこの車が好きだ/大好きだ。
  • I really like/love Osaka.  私は本当に大阪が好きだ/大好きだ。
  • I really like/love playing video games.  私は本当にビデオゲームをすることが好きだ/大好きだ。

人について話したいとき、‘like’ と ‘love’ の意味合いは異なってきます。


◆I like you. – We are friends.

あなたのことを好きです。– 私たちは友達です。

◆I love you. – I have strong feelings towards you.

あなたのことを大好きです(大切に感じている)。– 私はあなたに対してとても強い思いがある。

The many flavors of Love いろいろな種類のLove

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington Love
Many Flavors of Ice Cream (G. McGregor/

Love comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We can apply it to many relationships; best friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, family, pets.

Love is most always used to express our romantic feelings, towards our lovers and potential partners.

Love is often used between family members; a parent to a child, between siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. It is not uncommon for people to express love for their pets, as they are considered to part of the family as well.

Love can be used to express close fondness to friends. ‘I love you like a brother/sister,’ is a really powerful sentence to tell someone. You are expressing the strong bond you feel and are saying you consider them to be like family. However, when you say this to a person that has a romantic interest in you, it has the opposite effect. I like you, but I don’t love you.

To love someone is not always the same as being in love with someone.





‘I love you like a brother/sister’(兄弟/姉妹のように私はあなたのことをとても大切に思っています)はとても強い意味のある言葉です。強い絆を感じ、家族のように感じていると伝えているのですから。しかし、あなたに対して恋愛感情をもっている人にこれをいうと、逆効果となります。I like you, but I don’t love you.=私はあなたのことを好きです。でも恋愛関係には発展しません。

誰かを大切に感じていること(To love someone)が恋愛関係にあること(being in love with someone)といつも同じなわけではありません。

How To Talk: Love vs. In Love

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington Love
Woman Drawing a Heart on Her Thigh (

Finally, we’ve made it to ‘in love.’ As noted, native speakers kick around the word ‘love’ quite a bit. They will declare that they love nachos, they love skiing, or they love NY, without batting an eye. Conversely, they rarely use the phrase ‘in love.’

While ‘love’ can be applied to so many situations, trivial or serious, ‘in love’ is wholly different. It carries much more weight. To be ‘in love’ with someone is to unequivocally proclaim you have romantic feelings for that person. It’s a very serious statement to make, and it’s also quite rare to use.

Generally, in a romantic situation, ‘I love you’ implies you are ‘in love’ with your partner.

ようやく、‘in love’ にたどりつけました。

いろいろ解説してきましたが、ネイティブスピーカーは ‘love’ をいろいろとつかいまわします。ナチョスが大好き、スキーが大好き、NYが大好き等平然といいます。

逆に ‘in love’ を使うことはあまりありません。

‘love’ はさまつなことから重大なことまでいろいろなケースで使われる一方、‘in love’ は全く異なり、より重く響きます。

誰かに ‘in love’ の状態ということは、明確に誰かに対して恋愛感情をもっていると宣言することになります。


一般的に、ロマンチックなシチュエーションでの ‘I love you’ は、パートナーに対して ‘in love’ な状態であることを含んでいます。

When It’s Used【使われるとき】

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington Love
Young Couple on a Romantic Date (

“In love” could be used if there is confusion about the type of love being expressed. If a person has had romantic feelings for an acquaintance for a long time, they could declare that they are ‘in love,’ as a grand gesture.

Imagine confessing to an old high school crush that you’re ‘in love’ with them and you want to be with them. While it’s quite typical to see in a Hollywood movie or TV show, it’s rare to do in real life.

More commonly, ‘in love’ is used in the 3rd person. If we’re telling a story or explaining a situation, this phrasing makes it very clear.

Rose and Jack were in love with each other.

There is no misunderstanding about the relationship. It is clear there were romantic elements.

どんなlove の状況にあるのか(友達のloveなのかロマンチックな関係のloveなのか)不透明な場合、“in love” を使って気持ちを表現するかもしれません。例えばとある人が知り合いに長い間ロマンチックな感情を抱いていた場合、壮大な意思表示として ‘in love’ を使い告白をする可能性はあります。


一般的には ‘in love’ は第三者で使われるケースが多いです。


Rose and Jack were in love with each other.(Rose と Jack はお互いに愛し合っていた。)


A few things to note【留意点】

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi - Idioms In Love
A Stack of Pancakes with Berries & Maple Syrup (

Because being ‘in love’ with someone has deep romantic feelings, it should not be used towards family and friends. Telling a family member, like a cousin, you are in love with them is going to send the wrong message. 

Unlike ‘love,’ you can’t be ‘in love’ with an object, place, or activity. You can love pancakes, but you can’t be in love with pancakes.

‘I like you, I love you, and I’m in love with you,’ all have meanings that overlap. Even for native speakers it’s not always clear and sometimes they will ask for clarification.

‘in love’ は恋愛感情を含む言い方となるため、家族や友達へは使いません。

いとこのような親戚にin loveを使うと勘違いさせてしまいますので注意しましょう。

また ‘love’ と違い、もの、場所、行為について ‘in love’ を使えません。

You love pancakesといいますが、You are in love with pancakesとはいいません。

実際にI like youと I love youとI’m in love with youは重複した意味合いを含んでいます。


Singular vs. Plural 単数 vs. 複数

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington Love
A Dog Relaxing on a Bed, Belly Up (

Generally, when talking about things we like/love we are talking about groups. One of the most common mistakes is not pluralizing a countable noun when using like/love when the object/place is nonspecific.

An example of this mistake is:

❌I love dog.

Worse yet, it sounds like the speaker is saying they like eating dog, though most native speakers won’t jump to this conclusion. We can fix this problem by putting an –s on the end of that noun.

✔️I love dogs.

If you want to single out a specific thing, a pronoun can be added. ‘I love this dog.’



‘I love dog’ は典型定な誤りです。


複数形にして、‘I love dogs’ というようにしましょうね。

具体的なものをさして好きといいたいようでしたら、‘I love this dog’ のように代名詞を付け加えましょう。

Idiomatic Love

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington Love
Card with a Pink Heart and Cotton (

Lastly, we have the idiomatic phrase; falling in love.

It means to have a powerful attraction to someone. This could happen suddenly, or gradually.

The reverse can happen, and we fall out of love with somebody.

最後に、イディオム的なフレーズfalling in loveがあります。


falling in loveは、突然おこったり、徐々におこったりするものです。


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