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I came across this sentence in the Grade 10 Vietnamese English grammar.

"I would rather that it were not summer now."

My question is that that sentence does not have a main verb after "rather" because "rather" is not a verb but an adverb.

For example, we often say

"I would rather stay home than go out"

I did some research, I seems to come up with this structure

"Would rather(adv) + do something + than + do something" can be written as "Would rather(adv) + that + a clause + than + do something".

But I am not sure I am correct.

Are "I would rather I stayed home than go out" the same as "I would rather stay home than go out"?

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  • I think the phrase would rather acts like a verb. If it's a choice between two actions, both verbs must be in the same form, so "I would rather I stayed at home than went out". Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 9:13
  • @KateBunting, are you sure "would rather acts like a verb"? most dictionaries say "rather" is an adverb
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 9:21
  • Yes, rather on its own is an adverb, but would rather is a special case. See this Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 15:54
  • "I would rather I did something" is not grammatical in English. It has to apply to something or someone else. And: I would rather have stayed at home than go out. Past. And present is: I would rather stay at home.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 14:46

1 Answer 1

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I would rather that it were not summer now.

It's summer now. You prefer it were not.

I would rather stay home than go out.
I would rather I stayed home than go out.

They have the same meaning. You prefer to stay home. You don't want to go out. When the subject of both clauses is the same, we tend to use the former form.

Note that the past tense clause points to your present or future wishes, preferences. To talk about the past, we shift the tense to the present or past perfect.

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    I would rather I stayed home than go out. is not grammatical. Also, there is only present or past tense: I would rather stay at home. I would rather have stayed at home.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 14:47
  • Agreed, "I would rather I stayed home than go out," is not grammatical. Even the corrected version, "I would rather I stayed home than went out," is deeply unidiomatic because of how verbose it is compared to alternate constructions.
    – YonKuma
    Commented Jan 15 at 18:21

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