✅ Would rather formula ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

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Would rather

We use would rather or ’d rather to talk about preferring one thing to another. Would rather has two different constructions. (The subjects are underlined in the examples.)Compare

same subject (+ base form)different subject (+ past simple clause)
I’d rather stay at home than go out tonight.I’d rather you stayed at home tonight.
I’d rather not go out tonight.I’d rather you didn’t go out tonight

Would ratherwould sooner

Grammar > Verbs > Verb patterns > Would ratherwould soonerfrom English Grammar Today

Would rather

We use would rather or ’d rather to talk about preferring one thing to another. Would rather has two different constructions. (The subjects are underlined in the examples.)Compare

same subject (+ base form)different subject (+ past simple clause)
I’d rather stay at home than go out tonight.I’d rather you stayed at home tonight.
I’d rather not go out tonight.I’d rather you didn’t go out tonight

In negative sentences with a different subject, the negative comes on the clause that follows, not on would rather:

She’d rather you didn’t phone after 10 o’clock.

Not: She wouldn’t rather you phoned after 10 o’clock.

Same subject

When the subject is the same person in both clauses, we use would rather (not) followed by the base form of the verb:

We’d rather go on Monday.

Not: We’d rather to go … or We’d rather going …

More than half the people questioned would rather have a shorter summer break and more holidays at other times.

I’d rather not fly. I hate planes.

When we want to refer to the past we use would rather + have + -ed form (perfect infinitive without to):

She would rather have spent the money on a holiday. (The money wasn’t spent on a holiday.)

I’d rather have seen it at the cinema than on DVD. (I saw the film on DVD.)

Different subjects

When the subjects of the two clauses are different, we often use the past simple to talk about the present or future, and the past perfect to talk about the past:

would rather they did something about it instead of just talking about it. (past simple to talk about the present or future)

Would you rather I wasn’t honest with you? (past simple to talk about the present or future)

Not: Would you rather I’m not honest with you? or … I won’t be honest with you?

I’d rather you hadn’t rung me at work. (past perfect to talk about the past)

Much rather

We can use much with would rather to make the preference stronger. In speaking, we stress much:

I’d much rather make a phone call than send an email.

She’d much rather they didn’t know about what had happened.

Short responses: I’d rather not

We often use I’d rather not as a short response to say no to a suggestion or request:A:

Do you want to go for a coffee?B:

I’d rather notif you don’t mind.

Would soonerwould just as soon

We use the phrases would sooner and would just as soon when we say that we prefer one thing to another thing. They mean approximately the same as would rather:

I don’t really want to go back to France again this year. I’d sooner go to Spain.

Thanks for the invitation, but, if you don’t mind, we’d just as soon stay at home and watch it all on TV.

Would sooner is more common than would just as soon. However, would rather is more common than both of these phrases.

Would ratherwould sooner: typical errors

  • We don’t use would rather or would sooner with an –ing form or a to-infinitive:

I don’t need a lift, thanks. I’d rather walk.

Not: I’d rather to walk. or I’d rather walking.

  • When we use not referring to a different subject, we attach not to the second clause, not to would rather or would sooner:

I’d rather they didn’t tell anyone

Not: I’d rather not they told anyone.

Would prefer, would rather:
expressing 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.

I’d prefer to go to the cinema.

Would rather is followed by the infinitive without to.

Would prefer is followed by to + infinitive or a noun.

I’d rather have fruit juice.

I’d prefer to have fruit juice.
I’d prefer 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 (instead of walking) – it’s not safe on the streets at night.

The film is quite violent. I’d rather our children didn’t watch it.

We say:
would rather . . . than

It’s such nice weather – I‘d rather sit in the garden than watch TV.

We say:
would prefer . . . rather than / instead of

It’s such nice weather – I‘d prefer to sit in the garden rather than watch TV.

Prefer, would rather:
expressing general preference
When we talk about general preferences, we can use prefer or would rather. The meaning is the same.

prefer walking to cycling.
would rather walk than cycle.

After prefer we use the verb in the -ing form.

After would rather we use the infinitive without to.

prefer using a keyboard to writing with a pen.

I’d rather use a keyboard than write with a pen.
(I’d = I would)

We say: prefer . . . to . . .

We say: would rather . . . than . . .

prefer walking to driving.

I’d rather walk than drive.

RATHER – RATHER THAN – WOULD RATHER


 RATHER – RATHER THAN – WOULD RATHER 

It is often difficult for learners of English to know when to use ‘rather’, ‘rather than’ or ‘would rather’. The explanation below should help clarify things.

RATHER:

‘Rather’ is an adverb of degree like ‘fairly’, ‘quite’, etc. that can be used with nouns, adverbs, adjectives and superlatives.

• That’s rather a nuisance!
• He cooks rather well.
• She’s got a rather nice voice.
• That’s rather more than I expected to pay.OR RATHER :

When we want to correct what we have just said, or make it more precise, we often use the expression ‘or rather’.

• His son is a doctor, or rather, a surgeon.

To talk about preferences there are two structures: ‘rather than‘ and ‘would rather‘.

RATHER THAN :

• It would be better to go in September rather than in August.
• I prefer to leave now rather than wait for all the speeches.
• He decided to write rather than telephone.WOULD RATHER :

The expression ‘would rather’ is followed by the bare infinitive (the infinitive without ‘to’).

 Would you rather live here or go back to London? I’d rather live here.
(= I would prefer to live here.)
• I don’t want to go to the swimming pool. I’d rather go to the beach.
(= I would prefer to go to the beach.)
To say that one person would prefer another person to do something, ‘would rather’ is generally followed by a past tense.

• Don’t come on Monday. I’d rather you came on Tuesday.To express regret about something that has already happened, ‘would rather’ is followed by the past perfect.

• I’d rather you hadn’t done that = I wish you hadn’t done that.-ING forms:
When the main clause has a verb in the –ing form, ‘rather than’ can be followed by –ing.

• I prefer getting up early rather than rushing at the last minute.

Be careful to note the following:

I’d rather + bare infinitive usually means ‘I’d prefer’, as in the following example:
◊ I’d rather have a cup of tea. = I’d prefer to have a cup of tea / I’d prefer a cup of tea.

BUT, with certain verbs – like/enjoy/appreciate – the meaning changes a little:
◊ I’d rather have a beer = I’d prefer to have a beer.
◊ I’d rather like a beer = I’d quite like a beer / I would enjoy a beer.

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