Preference Sentences

Find a number of examples of Preference sentences and clear your understanding how to use correctly rather, prefer, would prefer, would rather….

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Would Prefer (Prefer)

prefer  / would prefer means “to like or want someone or something more than someone or something else” 

We choose one thing between diffferent options. We can use “prefer” in 3 different forms. 

Forms and Usage

Prefer something to something else

  • I prefer football to basketball.
  • I would prefer city to country.
  • She prefers tea to coffee. She would prefer tea to coffee.

Prefer to do something rather than do something else

  • I’d prefer to drink tea rather than drink coffee.
  • Tom prefers to stay at home rather than go to the cinema tonight.
  • They prefer to drive rather than go by bus.

Prefer doing something to doing something else

  • I prefer drinking tea to drinking coffee.
  • We prefer jogging to running.
  • They prefer driving to going by bus.

Question: What is the difference between prefer and would prefer?

We can use would prefer and prefer with the same meaning. However, the only difference is that we cannot use verb+ing after would prefer.

  • I would prefer football to basketball.    =  I  prefer football to basketball.
  • I would prefer to drink tea rather than drink coffee.    =    I prefer to drink tea rather than drink coffee.
  • They would prefer driving . They would prefer to drive.

Contractions (short forms)

I would prefer  =  I’d prefer
She would prefer =  She’d prefer
he would prefer = He’d prefer
They would prefer = They’d prefer
We would prefer =  We’d prefer
You would prefer = You’d prefer

Would rather

would rather is used to decide a preference when making a choice among different options.

Positive Form:  Subject + would rather (‘d rather) +  verb (base form) + than  + verb (base form)

  • I would rather stay home than go out tonight.
  • She’d rather play tennis than sit here.
  • They’d rather drink tea than cola.
  • I would rather go by car.
  • I’d rather stay at home.              
  •  Would you rather have lemonade?    
  • Would she rather come with us than stay home?
  • My father would rather drink tea than (drink) coffee.
  • She’d rather buy a gold ring than a silver ring.    
  • I’d rather resign from my job than take a cut in salary.
  • I ‘d rather watch a match than go to the cinema.

When prefering a negative option, we use “not” before the verb.

  • I’m tired. I’d rather not go out this evening.        
  • We’d rather not tell a lie.           
  • Sam would rather not talk to him.
  • She’d rather not say that again.

Question Form:  Would + subject + rather +  verb

  • Would you rather come with us?
  • Would they rather talk in English or French?

Some example Conversations:

Cate: Let’s go to the cinema? There’s a new comedy movie.
Mike: I’d rather go home now. I have a terrible headache.

Teacher: There are two topics, science or math. Which would you rather write about?
Debby: I would rather write about math than science. I think I am better at science.

Contractions (short forms)

I would rather  =  I’d rather
She would rather =  She’d rather
he would rather = He’d rather
They would rather = They’d rather
We would rather =  We’d rather
You would rather = You’d rather

Would rather (Continuous and Past Use)

Continuous Usage:  We use progressive form when we wish to be doing something else. We express boredom or our hope to be doing a new activity.  We usually use be + verb ing with this structure.

  • I would rather be walking in the forest than (be) reading this.
  • She’d rather be listening to music now than doing this boring job.
  • Mike would rather be lying on the beach than be going to the summer school.
  • Mom would rather be cleaning the house than gossiping.
  • We’d rather not be sitting here.

Past Usage: We use past form to express our regret in the past. We usually use have + verb 3 with this structure.

  • We went by air, although I would rather have gone by sea.
  • I’d rather have stayed at home than (have) gone to that boring party.
  • She’d rather have died than have seen this.
  • He’d rather have retired than gone to that city.
  • I would rather have gone to bed earlier last night.
  • Sally would rather have learned English before.

Would rather + Somebody did something

would rather + Somebody did something

When the person performing the action is different from the subject, we use use Simple Past Tense, but meaning is  present or future.

  • I’d rather go by bus ( I will go by bus)

I’d rather he went by bus. (He will not go by bus.) (meaning: present)

  • He wants to be a teacher but I’d rather he became a doctor.
  • I would rather (that) you stayed at home. (but you will go out)
  • My father would rather I lived in Istanbul. (I am living in Paris now.)
  • The teacher would rather the students didn’t talk during the lesson. (They are chatting)
  • I’d rather you didn’t smoke in the car. (you are smoking in the car.)

would rather + Somebody had done something

When we are talking about an action happened in the past, we use  past perfect, and meaning is past. We usually express our regret with this structure.

  • My friend took me to the opera yesterday. I’d rather he had taken me to the theater instead.
  • My son became a teacher last year. I’d rather he had become a doctor.
  • She’d rather I hadn’t sent this present to her. She doesn’t like it.
  • I’d rather she had gone there by plane. She went by bus.

Would rather & Prefer

Prefer and would rather are both used for expressing our preference or choice between different options. They have the same meaning, but their grammar forms and rules are different from each other.

  • My father would rather drink tea than (drink) coffee.
  • My father prefers drinking tea to (drinking) coffee.
  • My father prefers to drink tea rather than (drink) coffee.
  • She’d rather buy a gold ring than a silver ring.
  • She prefers buying a gold ring to a silver ring.
  • She prefers to buy a gold ring rather than a silver ring.
  • I’d rather watch a match than go to the cinema.
  • I prefer watching a match to going to the cinema.
  • I prefer to watch a match rather than go to the cinema.

Would rather does not take a noun afterwards, but Prefer can be used with a noun.

  • He would rather have a house in the town.  (he would rather a house.)
  • I’d prefer a house in the town.

When we want somebody else to do something

we use pronoun with prefer (me, him, them…)

  • I’d prefer him not to smoke
  • She said she’d prefer us to arrive no later than nine o’clock.

but we use subject with would rather (I, you, we…)

  • I’d rather he didn’t smoke
  • She said she’d rather we arrived no later than nine o’clock.

For the past events:

  • I would prefer to have stayed at home rather than have (gone) out last night.


  • I would rather have stayed at home than (have) gone out last night.

“Would rather” example sentences

  • I’d rather they spoke the truth.
  • We’d rather we went by bus.
  • Mum would rather I lived near her.
  • He would rather have breakfast in the balcony.
  • He’d rather have come earlier.
  • We’d rather have visited Italy than Russia.
  • I’d rather you hadn’t come here.
  • She’d rather I hadn’t gone home.
  • I’d rather you used a pen.
  • She’d rather I went home now.
  • We’d rather not have an exam today.
  • I’d rather go to a jazz concert.
  • Would you rather we didn’t come yesterday?
  • She’d rather work outside than inside.
  • Who would rather live in a small town than a big city?

“Would Prefer” example sentences

  • They would prefer you to start tomorrow.
  • I prefer to have finished it yesterday.
  • I would prefer not to leave this job to John
  • I prefer him not to go alone.
  • They would prefer me not to live in London.
  • Tom prefers learning English to French.
  • We prefer to stay home rather than get wet in the rain.
  • The teacher prefers the students to use a pencil in the exam.
  • We prefer not to talk about it.
  • My brother prefers watching football to playing it.
  • I would prefer to come early rather than be late.
  • My students usually prefer painting with watercolours.
  • I would prefer Mozart to Bach.
  • Would you prefer to pay with, cash or credit card?
  • I and my wife would prefer to go on holiday in September.
  • Do you prefer cooking with electricity or gas?
  • Would you prefer an espresso or a cappuccino?


Would Rather / Would Sooner / Would Just As Soon  modals have the same meaning. We use them to express our preference.

  • They would rather die than surrender. ( They choose to die, but never want to surrender.)
  • I‘d rather you came with us.
  • would just as soon stay in – I’m not feeling very well.
  • I’d just as soon stay at home as go out tonight.
  • I’d just as soon work at home and not have the hassle of the subway every morning.
  • would just as soon not hear about it
  • She‘d sooner share a house with other students than live at home with her parents
  • would sooner (that) my son became a doctor .

Note:  WOULD RATHER never takes a noun afterwards. It must be used with a verb.

  • He would rather  a house in the town.   we can use as: (I prefer a house in the town.)
  •  He would rather have a house in the town.    

Exercise 1

  1. Would you prefer …….. a comedy film rather than a horror movie
    1.       watching
    2.       to watch
    3.       watched
    4.       to watching
  2. Sally would prefer to drive there ….. go by plane.
    1.       rather than
    2.       to
    3.       rather then
    4.       then
  3. She prefers hot chocolate ….. coffee.
    1.       from
    2.       to
    3.       than
    4.       rather than
  4. I’d prefer …….. fruit juice.
    1.       to have
    2.       have
    3.       having
    4.       had
  5. Mom prefers to go to the cinema ……. stay at home tonight.
    1.       by
    2.       rather than
    3.       to
    4.       from
  6. I’d prefer to drink water ……. drink cola.
    1.       then
    2.       by
    3.       rather than
    4.       to
  7. I would prefer cinema ……. theater.
    1.       to
    2.       rather than
    3.       from
    4.       by
  8. I prefer watching TV ……. playing computer games.
    1.       by
    2.       to
    3.       rather than
    4.       from
  9. I would prefer to go by bus rather than …….
    1.       walked
    2.       walking
    3.       to walk
    4.       walk
  10. I would prefer ……. tea rather than drink coffee
    1.       drink
    2.       to drink
    3.       drunk
    4.       drinking
  11. I prefer tennis ……. volleyball.
    1.       than
    2.       to
    3.       rather than
    4.       then
  12. We would prefer to spend time with my children rather than …… at weekends.
    1.       work
    2.       working
    3.       to work
    4.       worked
  13. She would prefer ……. rather than lose her money.
    1.       dies
    2.       to die
    3.       dying
    4.       die


  1. B
  2. A
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B
  6. C
  7. A
  8. B
  9. D
  10. B
  11. B
  12. A
  13. B

Exercise 2

  1. She ……… to drive a small car than drive a big one.
    1.       prefers
    2.       would rather
  2. I’d rather ……… alone.
    1.       him not to go
    2.       he didn’t go
  3. We’d rather ……….. Italy than Russia.
    1.       to have visited
    2.       have visited
  4. I’d rather …….. the work now.
    1.       not do
    2.       not doing
    3.       to have done
    4.       not to do
  5. Which would you rather ……..
    1.       drink
    2.       drinking
    3.       have drunk
    4.       to drink
  6. I prefer ……… alone.
    1.       he didn’t go
    2.       him not to go
  7. Sam ………. not mention the problem.
    1.       would prefer
    2.       would rather
  8. She prefers …….. in the small room.
    1.       sleep
    2.       to sleeping
    3.       to sleep
    4.       slept
  9. We prefer ……….
    1.       Sam than John
    2.       Sam to John
    3.       Sam from John
  10. Some people would rather ……happy than rich.
    1.       being
    2.       to be
    3.       be
    4.       been
  11. I prefer to photograph people ………. places.
    1.       from
    2.       then
    3.       to
    4.       rather than
  12. She’d rather go by sea ……. by air.
    1.       to
    2.       than
    3.       from
    4.       rather
  13. We’d prefer ……….. Italy than Russia.
    1.       have visited
    2.       to have visited
  14. I prefer ……. to the cinema to sitting at home.
    1.       went
    2.       to go
    3.       going
    4.       go
  15. I would rather …… her.
    1.       to wait
    2.       wait
    3.       waiting
    4.       waited


  1. A
  2. B
  3. B
  4. A
  5. A
  6. B
  7. B
  8. C
  9. B
  10. C
  11. D
  12. B
  13. B
  14. C
  15. B


  1. I’d rather have stayed home than _____ to that boring party.
    1.       go
    2.       we went
    3.       gone
    4.       went
  2. She’d rather ______ a businesswoman than a housewife.
    1.       become
    2.       to have become
    3.       to become
    4.       she becomes
  3. My father prefers watching football ________ playing it.
    1.       than
    2.       into
    3.       to
    4.       from
  4. He’d ______ to have rested for some time rather than have played that boring game.
    1.       prefer
    2.       just as soon
    3.       sooner
    4.       rather
  5. Would you rather ________ tomorrow
    1.       us to have gone
    2.       we hadn’t gone out
    3.       we didn’t go out
    4.       us not to go
  6. She’d prefer to become a businesswoman ______ a housewife.
    1.       from
    2.       to
    3.       rather than
  7. I prefer ______ coffee to drinking tea.
    1.       drink
    2.       to drink
    3.       drinking
    4.       have drunk
  8. I _______ read a novel than a magazine.
    1.       prefer
    2.       would rather
    3.       would prefer
  9. Would you prefer ________ out tomorrow
    1.       not to have gone
    2.       us not to go
    3.       we didn’t go out
    4.       we hadn’t gone
  10. I would prefer _______ this problem herself.
    1.       she solved
    2.       she to solve
    3.       her solve
    4.       her to solve


  1. C
  2. A
  3. C
  4. A
  5. C
  6. C
  7. C
  8. B
  9. B
  10. D


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