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Aprile 2016
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us (preferably in English) at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

Are you interested?
Is there any difference between “to be interested in + verbo in -ing” and “to be interested + infinito”?  Longman’s Dictionary gives two examples: “Sheila’s interested in starting her own business” and “I’d be interested to hear your opinion,” but it doesn’t offer an explanation as to whether there’s any difference in meaning.

Both forms exist but they are not exactly the same. The “interested in + ing” is more common. You can say “Sheila’s interested in starting her own business,” but you can’t say “Sheila’s interested to start her own business.” At the same time, you can say both “I’d very interested to hear your opinion” and “I’d be very interested in hearing your opinion.” “Interested to” is rare and tends to refer to something very specific. For example, when someone says “I’d be interested to hear your opinion” this means that they want to hear your opinion about a particular subject: it’s unlikely that they want to hear your opinion about everything! Anyway, it’s a very complicated issue and so it’s best to play safe and always use the “interested in + ing” form.

When I was visiting London I heard native English speakers ask questions without using the typical correct grammar form. For example a guy asked me: That’s the bus to Queensway? or another guy, at Starbucks, asked me: You like something on top? I think they should have said: Is that the bus to Queensway? Would you like something on top? Why did they omit the correct form? Is it a new way of speaking?

In English, as in Italian, there’s a difference between the spoken and the written language. To hear someone ask “That’s the bus to Queensway?” is quite normal.
The second example is less normal, but still possible. The person may have said “would you like” but the word “would” was inaudible. Alternatively, there’s a 75 per cent chance that the person talking to you wasn’t a mother-tongue speaker: nowadays most of the staff in places like Starbucks tend to be foreign, at least in London.
But, as we have often said, bad grammar is very common in spoken English.

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