I've read that "would rather" has two different constructions; same subject and different subjects. Some of the examples have been listed below:

  1. I would rather they did something about it.

Question 1: Does it mean "I would prefer them to do something about it" at present moment or in the future?

  1. Rahul joined Engineering but he'd rather has joined medicine.

Question 2. Does it mean "He would have preferred to join medicine but he joined Engineering"

  1. I would rather you stayed at home tonight.

Question 3. Can't we just say "you would rather stayed at home tonight." Without changing the meaning of above sentence?

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/would-rather-would-sooner#would-rather-would-sooner__1

Note: I have read this question "I would rather did it myself" or "I would rather do it myself"? which is a bit similar to my question because both are about "would rather". But all the example sentences and questions that I have asked in my question are different.

  • If you want You ... as the first word, you'd better use You'd better stay at home tonight. – Damkerng T. Sep 23 '16 at 13:26
  • @Alan carmack,I'm afraid to say that this question isn't the duplicate of previous though both the questions are about "would rather".All the example sentences that I've written in my post are completely different and what I'm asking about is all different.I am not asking about" myself" here.So,It's no faiir to mark this question as duplicate.Thanks – yubraj Sep 23 '16 at 14:23
  • half of this question is about same subject/different subject usage of would rather. I can't find any other questions that address this issue so I'm voting to keep this question open. – JavaLatte Sep 23 '16 at 18:04
  • @javalette,Think you.But it's still marked as duplicate – yubraj Sep 23 '16 at 22:44
  • yes, @yubrajsharma. That sometimes happens when you ask several questions in one question, and there is another question that answers one of the questions in your question. – JavaLatte Sep 24 '16 at 6:26

Your interpretations of all the meanings except 3 are correct: 3 means "he wishes he had joined medicine".

You alternative ways of phrasing it (Q1.2 and Q4.2) are not correct, though.

I would rather...

This specifies who wants something to happen.

... they did something about it...

This specifies who should do something.

  1. I would rather they did something about it...

This specifies that I want them to do something.

1.2 They would rather do something about it...

This specifies that they want themselves to do something.

  1. I would rather you stayed at home tonight

This specifies that I want you to stay at home tonight.

4.2 you would rather stay at home tonight

This specifies that you want yourself to stay at home tonight.

  • @javalette,I'm not understanding No4.2, which you have described at last. you said it means" you want yourself to stay at home".who are you calling 'you'?, speaker or the person whom the speaker refers to ?Another question: can't we use past tense "you would rather stayed at home tonight" ? why ? – yubraj Sep 24 '16 at 8:41
  • you is the listener. Sentence 4 has two subjects: I want you to stay at home tonight. If you change I to you it obviously means something different. I would rather means I want. you would rather means you want. – JavaLatte Sep 24 '16 at 11:39
  • @javalette,Thank you,I got what you mean. But I wonder why I'm not answered of this question ell.stackexchange.com/questions/104240/… – yubraj Sep 24 '16 at 14:39
  1. It means that right now, they are only talking. Instead, you wish that they would do something.

  2. You are correct. It means you are not happy that you have been rung at work, with the implication that being rung elsewhere would be okay.

  3. Corrected: "Rahul joined Engineering, but he'd rather have joined Medicine." So, Rahul wanted to join Medicine, but for some reason was unable to so he joined Engineering instead.

  4. In this tense, it means that before "tonight" (e.g. in the afternoon) you are telling someone that you would prefer them to stay at home tonight. The sentence "you'd rather stayed at home tonight" doesn't make grammatical sense, but you could say "you'd rather stay at home tonight" which sounds awkward and is telling someone what they are thinking. It wouldn't really be used unless you were trying to imply that someone should stay home for a particular reason. If you added a question mark, it's asking someone if they would prefer to stay home tonight.

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