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  1. I prefer pork to beef - usual day a day expression.
  2. I prefer pork rather than beef - less common but grammatically correct.
  3. I prefer dancing to swimming. - usual day a day expression.
  4. I prefer dancing rather than swimming - less common but grammatically correct.
  5. I would prefer to stay home rather than go out tonight - "would prefer" MUST always be followed by the infinitive and not the "-ing" form.
  6. I prefer to eat candy rather than to eat ice cream - probably the less common but grammatically correct.

I would like to know if my understanding and notion of these sentences is 100 percent accurate, and could perfectly be used by any native speaker if they were to give a presentation on Perfect English Grammar At college.

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Well, aside from these specific sentences you make a number of other English mistakes that a native speaker would not make. For example, the expression is "day to day" and not "day a day".

Otherwise ... You should understand that there are many different English dialects, each of which has its own preferred way to say certain things. None of these are wrong, just different, and an expression that might be common in one dialect might be completely absent from another. It all depends on who is talking.

All of your sentences are grammatically correct. None of these is more common than any other.

I prefer dancing to swimming
I prefer to dance rather than swim.
I prefer to dance rather than to swim.

Some are more wordy, but perhaps the best way to clearly say what you mean:

I prefer to dance the tango rather than to dance the mambo.

"Would prefer", grammatically, is no different from "prefer" in that you can use either the infinitive or the gerund:

I prefer dancing in the moonlight to doing my taxes.
I would prefer dancing in the moonlight to doing my taxes.

I prefer to dance in the moonlight rather than do my taxes.
I would prefer to dance in the moonlight rather than do my taxes.

Of course there are many other ways to express a preference, and some people prefer never to use the word "prefer" at all. So I think it's not very useful to say one expression is "less common" than another, but rather understand, from listening to native speakers, in what context each is used.

(Edit) To be clear the "to" in "I prefer to dance rather than (to) swim" is part of the infinitive "to dance" and "to swim" and not part of the expression "prefer to ..." My point is that you can use either the infinitive or the gerund ("-ing" form) -- both are used equally, although sometimes one sounds better than the other.

  • Actually, I would prefer is different. If someone offers you tea, to be polite, you would say: I would prefer coffee. Also, the would implies in other context, an imagine situation that has not happened to you before, for example. Musings. – Lambie Jul 12 '17 at 18:53
  • Hi Lambie. Taking a look at Cambridge dictionary, I found this-Would prefer We use would prefer or ’d prefer, followed by a to-infinitive or a noun, to talk about present and future preferences:I’d prefer to go by myself.Would you prefer a quieter restaurant?She’d prefer not to drive at night. According to this, Would Prefer is actually followed by to infinitive .now,I'm wondering if this is an AmE BrE thing, or Cambridge corpus use it to convey a genearl idea,though it doesn't look like to me.excuse my mistakes in writing. I'm preparing for the Cambridge Advanced Exam,so I'm just learning – juan Jul 13 '17 at 16:41
  • @Lambie Yes this is true. I meant that grammatically they are the same, that you can use either the infinitive or the gerund. British English might have a "rule" around this but I think it's more that the infinitive sounds better ("I would prefer to answer the question") because it includes "prefer to". – Andrew Jul 13 '17 at 19:31
  • Andrew, Thanks a lot for displaying interrest in my question .as you can see , I'm taking an exam in few months ,so any help is priceless. Just One more thing, if i used the concept of parallelism like -"I prefer studying rather than playing". "I prefer to study rather than to play" in one of my essays ,regardless of the many other ways to convey the same idea, would i be using correct grammar ? All I want is pass this exam!– juan 10 mins ago delete – juan Jul 13 '17 at 21:24
  • @juan parallelism is about style not grammar. It's perfectly grammatical to say "I prefer to study rather than playing tennis," but it doesn't sound as nice. Unfortunately I have no idea what will be on your exam. This site is more about learning natural English than passing tests. – Andrew Jul 13 '17 at 21:39

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