Rather and prefer
Rather and Prefer are words used to show a choice from different options.
The lesson below shows you how to use rather and prefer.
Start with some examples:
Would you rather eat pizza or pasta?
I would rather eat pizza.
Would you prefer to eat pizza or pasta?
I would prefer to eat pizza.
|Would rather vs. would prefer - to express a specific preference|
|When we speak about a specific preference,would rather and would prefer have the same meaning and are interchangeable.||We went to the theatre yesterday. Today I would rather go to the cinema.|
We went to the theatre yesterday. Today I would prefer to go to the cinema.
|Would rather can be abbreviated to 'd rather.|
Would prefer can be abbreviated to 'd prefer.
|I'd rather go to the cinema today.|
I'd prefer to go to the cinema today.
|Would rather is followed by the bare infinitive.|
Would prefer is followed by to + infinitive.
|I'd rather have water.|
I'd prefer to have fruit juice.
|We use a past tense after would rather when we speak about the actions of other people, even though that action may be in the present or future.||I'd rather you took a taxi than walk - it's not safe on the streets at night. |
The film is quite violent. I'd rather our children didn't watch it.
|When making a comparison we say:|
would rather ... than
|It's such nice weather - I'd rather sit in the garden than watch TV.|
|After would prefer we say:|
would prefer ... rather than
|It's such nice weather - I'd prefer to sit in the garden rather than watch TV.|
|Prefer vs. would rather - to express a general preference|
|When we talk about general preferences we can use prefer or would rather. The meaning is the same.||I prefer walking to cycling.|
I'd rather walk than cycle.
|After prefer we use the verb in its ing form.|
After would rather we use than.
|I prefer using a keyboard to writing with a pen.I'd rather use a keyboard than write with a pen.|
Take a look at this conversation to see some examples of would rather and would prefer:
Alex:Would you rather stay home and cook dinner or go out?
Betty: I'd rather go out. I am pretty tired today, so I don't want to cook. What about you? Would you rather stay in or go out?
Alex: I would prefer to stay in, but we can go out if you would like.
Betty: That would be nice. What type of restaurant would you like to go to?
Alex: I'd prefer to go somewhere quiet
Betty: Really? Not me. I would rather go somewhere fun, maybe even with some live music.
Alex: But I thought you were tired?Betty: I am, but not too tired to have some fun.
Alex: Well, I'd prefer not to, but…..OK.