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Osama Taha
Osama Taha

Mastering the Use of Prefer and Would Rather in English


Prefer vs Would Rather: How to Express Your Preferences in English




Do you know how to say what you like or dislike in English? Do you know how to choose between different options or alternatives? Do you know how to influence other people's decisions or actions? If you want to learn how to do all these things, you need to know how to use prefer and would rather. These two expressions are very common and useful when we want to express our preferences in English. But they are not exactly the same, and they have different rules and structures. In this article, we will explain the difference between prefer and would rather, and show you how to use them correctly in various situations.


Introduction




What is the difference between prefer and would rather?




The main difference between prefer and would rather is that prefer can be used to talk about both general and specific preferences, while would rather can only be used to talk about specific preferences. Also, prefer can be used to express a preference on something, while would rather can be used to express a preference on something or someone else's actions.




prefer would rather



Prefer: general and specific preferences




We use prefer when we want to say that we like something more than something else, or that we choose something over something else. We can use it to talk about our general preferences, which are true for any time or situation, or our specific preferences, which are true for a particular time or situation. For example:


  • I prefer tea to coffee. (general preference)



  • I prefer reading books to watching TV. (general preference)



  • I prefer going out tonight to staying at home. (specific preference)



  • I prefer this dress to that one. (specific preference)



Would rather: specific preferences and other people's actions




We use would rather when we want to say that we want something more than something else, or that we choose something over something else. We can only use it to talk about our specific preferences, which are true for a particular time or situation. We can also use it to express what we want other people to do or not do. For example:


  • I would rather stay at home tonight than go out. (specific preference)



  • I would rather have pizza than pasta. (specific preference)



  • I would rather you didn't smoke in here. (other person's action)



  • I would rather he called me before he came. (other person's action)



How to use prefer and would rather correctly




The verb forms after prefer and would rather




The verb forms that follow prefer and would rather are different. We need to pay attention to the verb forms because they affect the meaning and the grammar of the sentences.


Prefer + -ing / to + infinitive / noun




We can use three different verb forms after prefer: -ing, to + infinitive, or noun. The meaning is the same, but the grammar is different. Here are some examples:


  • I prefer drinking tea to drinking coffee. (-ing form)



  • I prefer to drink tea rather than drink coffee. (to + infinitive)



  • I prefer tea to coffee. (noun)



  • I prefer walking to work to taking the bus. (-ing form)



  • I prefer to walk to work instead of taking the bus. (to + infinitive)



  • I prefer a walk to work to a bus ride. (noun)



Would rather + bare infinitive / past tense




We can use two different verb forms after would rather: bare infinitive or past tense. The meaning is different, depending on whether we are talking about ourselves or other people. Here are some examples:


  • I would rather stay at home tonight. (bare infinitive, talking about myself)



  • I would rather you stayed at home tonight. (past tense, talking about you)



  • I would rather he went with us. (past tense, talking about him)



  • I would rather not speak to him right now. (bare infinitive, talking about myself)



  • I would rather she didn't speak to him right now. (past tense, talking about her)



  • I would rather they were here. (past tense, talking about them)



The prepositions after prefer and would rather




The prepositions that follow prefer and would rather are also different. We need to pay attention to the prepositions because they affect the meaning and the style of the sentences.


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prefer would rather lesson plan


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prefer would rather bare infinitive


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prefer would rather than go out tonight


prefer would rather than be late


prefer would rather than stay here with mum


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Prefer + to / rather than / instead of




We can use three different prepositions after prefer: to, rather than, or instead of. The meaning is the same, but the style is different. To is the most common and neutral preposition, while rather than and instead of are more formal and emphatic. Here are some examples:


  • I prefer tea to coffee. (neutral)



  • I prefer tea rather than coffee. (formal)



  • I prefer tea instead of coffee. (formal)



  • I prefer to walk to work to taking the bus. (neutral)



  • I prefer to walk to work rather than take the bus. (formal)



  • I prefer to walk to work instead of taking the bus. (formal)



Would rather + than / instead of




We can use two different prepositions after would rather: than or instead of. The meaning is the same, but the style is different. Than is the most common and neutral preposition, while instead of is more formal and emphatic. Here are some examples:


  • I would rather stay at home tonight than go out. (neutral)



  • I would rather stay at home tonight instead of going out. (formal)



  • I would rather have pizza than pasta. (neutral)



  • I would rather have pizza instead of pasta. (formal)



  • I would rather you didn't smoke in here than have to leave. (neutral)



  • I would rather you didn't smoke in here instead of having to leave. (formal)



The abbreviations of prefer and would rather




We can also use abbreviations of prefer and would rather in informal speech and writing. We can use 'd prefer' or 'd rather' instead of 'would prefer' or 'would rather'. The meaning and the grammar are the same, but the style is more casual and friendly. Here are some examples:


  • I'd prefer tea to coffee.



  • I'd rather stay at home tonight.



  • I'd prefer not to talk about it.



  • I'd rather you were honest with me.



  • I'd prefer a window seat, please.



  • I'd rather not go there again.



Conclusion


Summary of the main points




In this article, we have learned how to use prefer and would rather to expr


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