I have a question about the usage of "would rather". We usually say: "I would rather do somthing" and it's correct. But can we say: "I would rather something"?

For example, in these situations item b is correct, but what about item a?

  • We can have tea or coffee. a: I'd rather coffee. b: I'd rather have coffee.

  • We can see a comedy or a documentary. a: I would rather the comedy. b: I would rather see the comedy.

1 Answer 1


I'd rather is usually followed by a verb. I'd rather have coffee [instead of tea.] That said, in context, you could possibly say: I'd rather coffee. In a conversation, where the context has already been set. But, strictly speaking, one generally would not.

  • Yes. Because I'd rather = I would rather, and "would" is a modal which needs a following verb. (This sort of logical argument doesn't always work with real languages, but often it does).
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 5, 2018 at 15:42

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