studying English in Canada writes:
I’ve just found this page which is for learning english and I find
it amazing and easy to follow. I'd like to know the difference between
prefer and would rather.
and would rather can be used interchangeably. As you indicate,
Omar, when we are talking about general preferences, prefer
is followed by verb-ing, thus:
prefer listening to music to watching TV.
rather listen to music than watch TV.
when we are talking about specifics, would rather is used
as an alternative to would preferto followed by an
infinitive. Would rather is very common in spoken English and is
often abbreviated to 'd rather. It is used in this form with
all personal pronouns:
you like to go out for dinner tonight? ~ No, I think I'd rather
eat at home / I'd prefer to eat at home.
you rather drink beer or wine with the curry ~ I'd rather drink
beer. What about you?
rather have the strawberries by themselves, but I'd prefer to
have them with cream.
that would rather is followed by a bare infinitive without
to, whereas prefer requires to + infinitive.
Would rather (but not would prefer to) is also followed
by a past tense when we want to involve other people in the action,
even though it has a present or future meaning. Study the following:
we go out for dinner tonight? ~ No, I'd rather we ate at home,
if you don't mind.
I write to Harry and tell him that we've sold the car? ~ I'd rather
mother would rather we caught the bus, rather than walk home after
than means instead of and can be used in combination
with would prefer to and would rather. Study the following
and note the intricacies of the verb forms:
than lose precious sleep discussing it now, I think we should
go to bed and talk about it in the morning.
mother would prefer us to email each other once a week, rather
than spend half an hour on the phone every night.
mother would rather we emailed each other once a week instead
of spending half an hour on the phone every night. In fact, she
insists on it. So we'd better do that, I suppose.
that 'd better, which is similar structurally to 'd rather,
is used to suggest necessary action. In this case however, 'd
is the abbreviated form of had, not would. Like
'd rather, 'd better is followed by the bare infinitive
without to. Study the following:
better not be late for the Ambasador's party. It would be unforgivable
to arrive late.
better phone him and tell him that you're not going.
better buy me a Christmas present or I shall never forgive them.
that it is sometimes slightly threatening in tone, as in the last
example. Had better is always more urgent than should
or ought to and has the same force as I would advise you
strongly to…. or We must / we mustn't….