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Here is a sentence I made up: “Some people say that internet has more positive effects, while some others argue that internet has more negative effects. Which do you prefer?

I want to ask whether the word “prefer” is used appropriately here. I feel “What do you think” is a better question to ask than “Which do you prefer”, because we are comparing two opinions.

If we are comparing two objects or approaches, I know it is correct to use “prefer”, e.g. I prefer tea. I prefer shopping online.

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    It sounds like you’re asking me which people do I prefer, the ones who are positive about the Internet or the ones who are negative instead of my opinion about the internet. Prefer is usually “which one do you like/want more” not “which do you agree with” e.g. Some people like cats best, others like dogs best. Which do you prefer, dogs or cats?
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 16:40
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    [correction: the Internet] What is your position? Which position do you prefer?
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 18:57
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    @Lambie "Which position do you prefer?" equals "Which view/opinion do you prefer?". Can we prefer a view/opinion?
    – joy2020
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 0:01
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    You can have an opinion, or agree with an opinion, but you cannot prefer an opinion.
    – gotube
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:10
  • Thank this community. I got some alternatives: What is your opinion? What are your thoughts? What is your point of view? Which side do you take? Which view do you agree with?
    – joy2020
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 13:41

2 Answers 2

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You are correct in feeling "what do you think" is better. You could prefer an opinion but asking "which do you prefer" in that context isn't correct.

The statements "some people say the internet has more positive effects" and "some people argue it has negative effects" cannot both be true so it doesn't make sense to ask about their preference. It would be like saying "some people think 2+2=4 and some people think 2+2=5, what do you prefer?"

If the question was "some people think dogs are better and some people think cats are better, which do you prefer?" would be fine.

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Both sentences sound perfectly fine to me. Prefer is just a more formal way of saying it. If I’m writing a formal essay, I would probably try to use fancier words like prefer, but in day to day talk I would just say, “What do you think?” You did use prefer correctly though.

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  • You cannot "prefer" an opinion.
    – gotube
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:08

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