Why is the gerund form is not possible after "would prefer"? Most sites and books tell that "would prefer" is either followed by to infinitive or noun.

Examples from Cambridge:

I’d prefer to go by myself.
Would you prefer a quieter restaurant?
She’d prefer not to drive at night.

On the other hand, I got some examples from the book (New Interchange Teacher's Edition 3: English for International Communication page 47). It also suggested using a gerund.

I think using a gerund is not wrong since the gerund itself = noun

One Example from the book:

I would prefer singing in a choir to playing in an orchestra.

Moreover, the book tells that using the infinitive form is not possible with such example because of the presence of "to" a short form of compared "to"

Do I go with the information of the book or not ? enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The New Interchange book is correct:

  • You can use a gerund after "would prefer". The example that the book gives ("I would prefer singing in a choir to playing in an orchestra") is grammatical and quite normal.

  • You should not use this construction with a full infinitive:

    1. *"I would prefer to sing in a choir to playing in an orchestra." (lack of parallelism)
    2. *"I would prefer to sing in a choir to to play in an orchestra." (use of infinitive as object of a preposition)

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