There are two abbreviations you surely know from cell phone messages and emails with your German friends: HDL and ILD. HDL stands for "love you" and ILD for "I love you".
But where is here actually the difference?
When do you say "love" and when do you talk about "loving"? This is not about a psychological analysis of when a person loves or loves the other one. Here you will learn why there are both expressions in the German language and how to use them.
Love is a noun. Generally it is defined as a state of feeling between a human being and another human being, a place, a thing or an animal. Although there is a general agreement in society about what is understood by love, the word can only really be defined subjectively.
For each person love is something different.
The verb "to love":
With this expression you say that you care about something. It can also be that you use it to describe how good you think something is.
"I love cookies." The thought: I can’t live without cookies.
"I love you." The thought: You are very important to me.
"To love": a compound verb
Here "to love" becomes an adjective with auxiliary verb (modal verb). The question after that would be, "How do I have you?" The answer: "I love you."
Alternatively I could also like you.
But "to like" and "to love" are not the same thing.
In German you know the forms of intensification (comparative and superlative). Now there are also terms that are used to make the gradations clear without sounding the same or having the same root word.
Don’t be confused. It’s simple:
In English it’s similar with the words "enjoy" – "like" – "love". Even if the comparison is a bit lame, because many Americans see "like" as stronger than "love".
Nevertheless, it becomes clear here where the difference in meaning between "to love" and "to have dear" lies:
If you enjoy something, you think or feel that something is great.
If you like something, you think or feel that something is awesome.
If you love something, you can not imagine living without it.
This is true for people, but also for things/places/animals.
Examples in German:
I like you because I think you’re good.
I love you because I think you’re awesome and I care about you.
I love you because I think you’re great and I can’t imagine being without you.
Difference in everyday language
In German nobody says, I love Vienna. It would be, "I love Vienna" and that, although I can live without Vienna.
But you could say: "I love my cuddly toy". That makes sense.
Friends usually write each other "I love you" (short: "Hab’dich lieb"). People in an intimate relationship say to each other "I love you.".
So there is an increase: like< Have dear< love.
How about you? Do you want to continue learning the German language? If you find a boyfriend/girlfriend to study with that you love, you’re guaranteed to love German eventually.