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EXPRESSING PREFERENCES (prefer, would prefer, would rather)

EXPRESSING PREFERENCES (prefer, would prefer, would rather)

Date: Oct 10 2008

Topic: Grammar

Author: nad1a

Lesson

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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.

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Comments

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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 |

island-80

Algeria

I would rather to sleep now

10:03 AM Aug 27 2009 |

tatia....

Georgia

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

01:34 AM Aug 24 2009 |

idalili

Hong Kong

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

12:54 AM Aug 19 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 |

Ryan Yam

Hong Kong

I would prefer watching the football match in stadium to watching that in fornt of TV

Is it correct?

08:51 PM Aug 06 2009 |

siva2k1

siva2k1

India

I prefer listening music than reading books.

I would prefer to chat with Ebaby Friends! 

11:35 AM Aug 06 2009 |

bonding

Indonesia

i prefer going to the mosque

12:08 AM Aug 06 2009 |

544079314

544079314

China

i would prefer to be busy now

08:22 PM Aug 03 2009 |

johndecson

johndecson

India

 

   hello to everybody!

   I eat for living, not living for eat.

   Earning money is wealth for living.

   Earning sprituality is good for soul.

   Being with devinism is near to God.

 

02:08 AM Aug 02 2009 |

esz8

esz8

Saudi Arabia

Dears,

I would prefer to watch a talk show .

Would you prefer to watch a talk show or to play football.

 

Please corrrect it, if anythings wrong.

11:53 PM Aug 01 2009 |

caiyuqin

caiyuqin

China

LaughingBut life wouldn't began once again.So try you best and believe you can .

07:24 AM Aug 01 2009 |

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