Despite being reasonably fluent in English, I have no intuition for what's correct here:

I'd rather stay than go home.

I'd rather stay than to go home.

I'd rather stay than going home.

All three sound natural to me. Could you explain which variants are actually correct and point me to the relevant grammar rules? If more than one are correct, could you also comment on the nuances between them?

2 Answers 2


It's only logical to use the same form of "go" in the second part of the sentence as the form of "stay" in its first part. And this form of "stay" is forced by "would rather" (see e.g. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/verb-patterns/would-rather-would-sooner). So the only correct, and natural sounding, version is the first one:

I'd rather stay than go home.

Sentences with other forms of "go" can also be formed, but that would require changing the first part of the sentence. For example:

I'd prefer staying here to going home.

  • 10
    Worth noting that the 'to' in your 2nd example is not the infinitive but the normal preposition in 'prefer X to Y' so the rule about matching the first verb still holds. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 9:04
  • I like this concept of the second verb takes the form of the first one. It explains both sentences (the OP's one and the second in the answer)
    – WoJ
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 14:41
  • But I think that "I'd rather go home than to stay" would be relatively commonly heard. I think the function of the "to" for the second verb is to make for clarity and easier reading by giving the reader an extra syntax signal for the upcoming meaning.
    – Ann
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 19:00
  • @Ann: No, I don't think so. "I'd rather go home than to stay" is ungrammatical.
    – zipirovich
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 19:56
  • @zipirovich Nah. It's not ungrammatical. And it's common as well. LOL! Does this mean we have reached an impasse? So soon in the thread too!
    – Ann
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 22:54

Rather than usually occurs between two things which are being compared. However, we can also use it at the beginning of a sentence. When we use rather than with a verb, we use the base form or (less commonly) the -ing form of a verb:

Rather than pay the taxi fare, he walked home. 


Rather than paying the taxi fare, he walked home -Cambridge

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