dislike OR unlike?
The words dislike and unlike are opposites of the word like. But to understand the difference between dislike and unlike, we need to understand the difference between "like" as a verb and "like" as a preposition.
dislike (like as verb)
As a verb, like means "to find (something) pleasant" or "to consider (something) enjoyable":
- I like you.
- Mary likes swimming. She goes swimming every day.
For the usual opposite of the verb like, we use dislike, which means "to not like" or "to find (something) unpleasant/disagreeable":
- Robert dislikes being called "Robbie".
- I disliked her from the moment we met.
The word unlike as a verb was very rare until an American website called Facebook.com used it to "undo" or "turn off" their Like button. In this sense, you stop liking something (or someone) after you start liking it. Note that to unlike is not the same as to to dislike. If you "dislike" something, you have a negative feeling about it. But to "unlike" something means simply to stop liking it. You may or may not now also dislike it.
Remember, though, that in the real world unlike as a verb is rare today, and its use is confined mainly to social networking.
unlike (like as preposition)
As a preposition, like means "similar to" or "nearly the same as". Look at these examples:
- John was wearing a shirt like mine.
- He looked like a ghost.
For the opposite of the preposition like, we use unlike, which means "not like" or "not similar to":
- John is unlike Peter, even though they are twins.
- I was surprised by John's behaviour. It is unlike him to be rude.