Would rather: semi modal verb

  • Auteur/autrice de la publication :
  • Post category:grammar

« Would Rather » expresses choice and means « would prefer to do something ».
It’s a semi-modal verb construction, followed by the infinitive without to.

We use « would rather » when you would prefer somebody to do something.
I would rather you don’t help them (=I would prefer it if you don’t help them).
I’d rather you don’t help them. (The contracted form ‘d is very common).
I would rather go by train = I would prefer go by train.
I would rather stay at home than go to the cinema. It’s raining.
I’d rather take a taxi than walk home (it’s too late).
The children would rather watch TV than go to bed.
« How about a beer? » – I’d rather drink wine.

Negative form: would + rather + not + verb:
I’d rather not go to the cinema, there’s a good movie on TV tonight!
Here, we use the past, but the meaning is present (and not the past!).
I’d rather you
do it now.
I’d rather you did it now. (In this case, a past tense is used with a present or future meaning).

Interrogativ form form: would + subject + rather + verb:
Would you rather stay at home?
Would you rather go to London?

In the past:
To talk about past actions, past perfect tense is used.
I’d rather you hadn’t done that.

would rather => ‘d rather