I want to ask someone about what he want me to do. which one of the mentioned below is better and grammatically correct?

What would you rather I did?
What would you rather I do?
What would you rather?

The 1st looks the best to me.

If I'm thinking about what someone want to do, what should I say while thinking? Can I say:

What would he rather do?

3 Answers 3


"What would you rather I do" is correct in the case where you have presented some options (or are just asking 'what to do' more generally) but are yet to take action.

"What would you rather I did [or 'had done']" would be used where you did something already, but then maybe it's being questioned so you are asking the person -- well, what should I have done instead? What would you have preferred that I did?

"What would you rather?" does get used occasionally but I think it's a bit ambiguous. If there are several options I would rephrase that to "[what/which one] would you prefer?"

  • Thank You seventyeightist. But this site {dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/…} says that when the subject is different, we should use past simple after "would rather" form to refer to present and future actions. And the past perfect is used to refer to past actions. and according to this site, we should use did in my example! So how do you explain that? cause I got little confused. Sep 11, 2019 at 22:13

The correct option is:

  • “What would you rather I do?” You can modify it slightly and use it when taking about what someone wants to do as “What would he rather do?”

I did should be used to refer to what you did in the past. Also, “What would you rather?” is an incomplete sentence and so if you say it then the person might not understand what you are trying to say.


Always trust on the answers backed up by valid source.. There is a rule for this one.. If there are 2 subjects in a sentence and if it is alluding to future or present you need to use simple past form of verb. For instance,considering your example,you have 2 subjects;'you' and 'I'. So in this case you need go for 'did'. what would you rather I did? I would rather you didn't call me. She would rather I stayed. But if there is only a subject and if it refers to future or present context then you need to stick with simple present tense. For instance,What would I rather do? I would rather not leave home. She would rather stay. And If you are talking about the past,where things had already happened but you wish it would have happened in a different way,then you need to use present perfect for single subject and past perfect for multiple subjects. I would rather I haven't done it. I would rather I have bought it. They would rather they have agreed to my proposal.(note here my is not a subject). I would rather they had done it. I would rather you had bought it. They would rather She had agreed to my proposal.... You can check it out here:- https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/british-grammar/would-rather-would-sooner

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