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Can we say:

I would rather read a book than to watch a movie.

instead of:

I would rather read a book than watch a movie.

I have searched the web and found that it is used without "to". But why is it so? Is the first use incorrect?

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  • 6
    ? Is there a reason you want to insert the "to" there? And if so, why hadn't you inserted it in front of "read a book" to maintain parallel construction between the two verb phrases? Mar 15 '17 at 9:27
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    But to answer your question: yes, the first sentence is incorrect. "Would rather" is one of those phrases that takes a bare infinitive after it. Mar 15 '17 at 9:32
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'Would rather' expresses choice and means 'would prefer to do something'.

So logically your first sentence reads like this:

  • I would prefer to read a book than (prefer) to to watch a movie.

The main rule is "would rather" + verb!

Would rather, would 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.

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Would rather = would prefer to

'Would rather' is followed by the bare Infinitive :

I would rather read a book than watch a movie. It means : I would prefer to read a book than to watch a movie. (Note that the verb 'prefer' is followed by the 'to'-infinitive.)

N.B : I would rather read a book than watch a movie.

= I would sooner read a book than watch a movie.

= I had rather read a book than watch a movie.

= I had sooner read a book than watch a movie.

= I had as soon read a book as watch a movie.

All these are the ways to show preference.

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  • @phoog, now please have a look at my answer that has been edited right now. May 2 '20 at 7:31

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