Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Social_nav_masthead_logged_in
EXPRESSING PREFERENCES (prefer, would prefer, would rather)

EXPRESSING PREFERENCES (prefer, would prefer, would rather)

Date: Oct 10 2008

Topic: Grammar

Author: nad1a

Lesson

MySpace Tracker

Expressing Preferences

We often use words like prefer, would prefer, would rather to talk or ask about preferences.
"I prefer living on my own."
"Would you prefer to see a movie or go to a club?"
"Would you rather  go shopping with me?"

Those expressions are quite different in meaning and this is why learners of English often find them challenging. So here is how we can separate them:


Difference in meaning:

We tend to use 'prefer' to talk generally about likes, dislikes, what we want.
“He prefers reading books.”
“I prefer going to the beach than going to a swimming pool.”

The expressions 'would prefer' and 'would rather', to be a little more specific.
“I would prefer to see him in person.”
“I would rather go home now.”


Difference in form:

Followed by a different verb form:

“I prefer living in a city.” (followed by the gerund; the '-ing' ending)
“I would prefer to be told the truth.” (followed by the infinitive; to+ the verb)
“Would you rather stay at a hotel?” (followed by the base form of the verb; the verb without 'to'.


Different prepositions to state the choice.

prefer, would prefer – go with 'to'
“I'd prefer living in a city to living in the country.”
“I would (I'd) prefer being alone to being with the wrong person”.

would rather – goes with 'than'
“I would (I'd) rather talk to him in person than call him on the phone.”

 

***
 
1. You can check your understanding as you match the questions below with suitable endings:
Would you prefer ...?
Would you rather ....?
 
- taking a nap or going for a walk
- a trip to Jamaica or a cruise to Alaska
- watch a talk show or see a movie
- to stay at home or go outside with friends
 
2. Practice asking and answering questions of the same type with friends.

More Language Activities

Comments

Log in to Comment

katerine33

katerine33

Guadeloupe

Thanks Nadia!

05:56 AM Feb 27 2013 |

jakhob

jakhob

Mexico

Check the explanation because you did a little mistake. The structure would prefer must be followed by an infinitive, could you check it please?

11:51 AM Feb 26 2013 |

djamal101

Morocco

I prefer praying in the mosque than home

12:31 PM Feb 08 2013 |

Clare Hu

China

hi everyone! i am studying english now. can you help me to check the sentence below? thank you! would you rather live in a big city of a terrible environment but there are some opportunities or live in a town of a healthy environment with a little money.

10:00 AM Mar 25 2010 |

sreenivaschaitanya

India

i would like to speak to anybody?

08:07 AM Sep 05 2009 |

similoud

Morocco

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snale!

If I only would I surely could!

Thanks nadia.

10:55 PM Aug 28 2009 |

island-80

Algeria

I would rather to sleep now

10:03 AM Aug 27 2009 |

salmahafeez

India

i prefer to go out with ma friends today evening

i would  like to chat with my family

i would rather learn english  than any other language

 

please let me know what mistakes i did 

08:21 PM Aug 26 2009 |

alexpato

alexpato

Turkey

it is the text that ı hate :))

03:23 AM Aug 24 2009 |

tatia....

Georgia

  • i prefer going in another lessons…...it's cool

01:34 AM Aug 24 2009 |

mickeemicz

mickeemicz

Philippines

I would rather die than stay away from you.  aww!

05:34 AM Aug 20 2009 |

jay_09

jay_09

India

Sir, I am clear about the would prefer/would rather. Plz clear my mind.

 

12:11 AM Aug 20 2009 |

idalili

Hong Kong

I would prefer not to see any advertising on this comments column

12:54 AM Aug 19 2009 |

SiyFf

Argentina

I would prefer driving a car to cycling .

i would rather read an interesting book than watch tv.

would you prefer going out with me or with her?

would you rather go shopping than take a nap?

I prefer living a town to living in a big city. 

I would rather chat with you now, 

03:57 PM Aug 17 2009 |

abd alaziz ramadan

Egypt

what  would  you like  (eat  – to eat - eating )               

02:48 AM Aug 17 2009 |

almamari

almamari

Yemen

I WANT ALL THING GOOD FROM ALLAH

02:03 AM Aug 13 2009 |

almamari

almamari

Yemen

2GATHER FOREVER

02:01 AM Aug 13 2009 |

huseyn1emre

Turkey

I prefer the goint to the Turkey Country

04:45 AM Aug 12 2009 |

mamadar

Ethiopia

a. Would you prefer taking a nap to going a walk?

   I would prefer taking a nap to going a walk.

b. Would you rather a trip to Jamaica than a cruise to Alaska?

   I would  rathr a trip to Jamaica than a cruise to Alaska.

 

08:01 PM Aug 11 2009 |

Likes (58):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Renren
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast