Tell me please which one of the following sentences is the most correct and natural.

I prefer to read books rather than listening to them.

I prefer to read books rather than listen to them.

I prefer to read books rather than to listen them.

If all are natural, than which one is more common?

1 Answer 1


Short answer:

Number 1 is "kind of" correct.

Number 2 is grammatically correct.

Number 3 is absolutely false.

Long answer:

it's grammatical to use simple form of the verb or the ing form of the verb after "rather than" -it's ungrammatical to use an infinitive (to+verb) after it.

so with that in mind, number 3 is definitely incorrect and one and two are correct. between one and two I would say number 2 is better because it respects "parallelism"; the two expressions on each side of "than" have the same form (they're both base form), English favors parallelism.

  • Not so. Number #3 is in fact the most "correct" form. English generally favours parallelism, so to listen is the preferred verb form because it matches the preceding "counterpoint" to read. It's "acceptable" to delete the predictably repeated second occurrence of infinitive marker to, but that certainly doesn't make it "more correct". Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 16:49

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