Did Romeo love to climb balconies or love climbing balconies? That is the question…

How to talk about love : grammar and expressions for Valentine’s Day.

Although the actual origin of Valentine’s Day and the identity of Saint Valentine remains unclear, it is true that for centuries people have been fascinated with celebrating love and declaring their love in the form of flowers, gifts and cards on an annual basis. 

So how do we use the verb “love” in English? The answer to whether Romeo loved to climb or loved climbing balconies is that he loved both. In order of intensity; like (aimer) , love (aimer), and adore (adorer) , along with their opposite emotions  dislike (détester), hate (haïr), and detest (détester) are stative verbs. These verbs express (exprimer) a state (état) rather than an action. They are not normally conjugated in a continuous form using “ing”.

These emotional verbs are rather indecisive and can be followed by either (soit) a verb to + infinitive or (soit) a verb ing. For example, we can say  “I  love to give flowers to my wife on Valentine’s Day” or “I love giving flowers to my wife on Valentine’s Day. The same is true of the negative verbs. We can say “I hate eating in restaurants on Valentine’s Day” or “I hate to eat in restaurants on Valentine’s Day”.

So what will you do on Valentine’s Day? Will you go on a “blind date” (rendez-vous arrangé) and “ fall in love at first sight” (tomber amoureux au premier regard/ avoir un coup de foudre)? Will you “break the heart” (briser le coeur) of someone you love and “split up” (rompre)  with them? Will you “steal the heart” (voler le coeur) of an “old flame” (ancien amour)? Or will you be “lovey dovey” (amoureux) with your one” true love” (véritable amour)?

It is said that “all is fair in love and war” (tout est juste dans l’amour et la guerre) but whatever you do on Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s something that you love doing or love to do with someone you love!