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I wonder if someone could point me out the incorrect sentences from among the listed ones bellow and tell me the reason of being incorrect:

  • I prefer ride to walk tonight.

  • I prefer riding to walking tonight.

  • I prefer riding rather than walking tonight.

  • I prefer to ride rather than walk tonight.

  • I’d prefer ride to walk tonight.

  • I’d prefer riding to walking tonight.

  • I’d prefer to ride rather than to walk tonight.

  • I‘d rather ride than walk tonight.

PS. Could someone please tell me which structure is more common in AmE?

For me all of them grammatically are correct, but whereas the case is specific here (tonight), the fist for sentences do not sound idiomatic.

Contrary to the examples above which introduced a specific occasion, sentences bellow, express a general situation; so the sentences #5, 6, 7 and 8 should be incorrect (though, grammatically there is nothing wrong with them):

  • I prefer die to apologize to him.
  • I prefer dying to apologizing to him.
  • I prefer dying rather than apologizing to him.
  • I prefer to die rather than apologize to him.
  • I’d prefer die to apologize to him.
  • I’d prefer dying to apologizing to him.
  • I’d prefer to die rather than to apologize to him.
  • I‘d rather die than apologize to him.

Do you confirm my understanding of this topic?

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The "ing" gerunds are fine. http://www.eslcafe.com/grammar/verbs_other_verbs08.html

Also, prefer has a number of rules to follow. http://www.learnenglish-online.com/grammar/ratherprefer.html

Prefer and Rather are not interchangeable. Would Rather is followed by a base verb and Would Prefer is followed by an infinitive.

"I prefer ride to walk" is not correct.

  • Whereas 'prefer' can be followd by a noun an gerund or an infinitive, grammatically the first sentence should be correct; perhaps there is something wrong with it exceptionally. I know all the points in your second link; however I thank you for that. i need some deeper helps regarding this topic. – A-friend Oct 25 '14 at 0:31
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The commenters are correct. Yes, #1 is wrong. If you are using "walk" and "ride" as nouns, you would say "I prefer a walk to a ride." If you mean them as verbs, they take the "to" form as in second example.

By the way, I see no difference in your second set. The degree of "generality", as you call it, has no bearing on which constructions of "prefer" or "rather" are acceptable.

Thus, you wouldn't say "I'd prefer die", just as you wouldn't say "I'd prefer walk". But 6, 7 and 8 of the second set are good, just as they are in the first set.

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