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Are there any structure like "I would rather not to do something" which is valid ? I don't know why but it seems OK for me.

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In English verbs, "to do" is implicit. Adding it with a verb would lead to two verbs in the same sentence serving essentially the same grammatical function. For example:

I would rather not fight

This makes perfect sense, with no need to specify that the verb is being done.

Compare:

I would rather not to do fight

Both "do" and "fight" are verbs, making this redundant and incorrect.


There is a case where this structure might come up in English. That case is if the thing being done is not a verb, but rather a noun. In that case, an actual verb ("do") must be used. For example:

I would rather not to do Yoga

In this sentence, "do" becomes the verb.

However, "to do" would still sound awkward to most English speakers. It is not incorrect, but sounds overly formal. You might imagine it being said in Victorian times. Instead, most people would use "do" alone or some equivalent word.

I would rather not do Yoga

Or,

I would rather not perform Yoga

  • Just for make sure , if I say "I would rather not to fight" , is it still incorrect ? – onurcanbektas Mar 21 '16 at 12:18
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    @Leth Though it's true that you can find some I'd rather not to V. in real life, it's rather rare, and I think your English teacher would mark the usage as incorrect, and it's definitely incorrect in English proficiency tests, AFAIK. – Damkerng T. Mar 21 '16 at 12:34
  • but I would rather not to do Yoga is plain incorrect, rather than simply awkward, isn't it? – MAKZ Mar 21 '16 at 13:43
  • The "to" + verb combo may or may not be considered incorrect by any given person, I'm no really the sort of English person to be citing sentence structure rules (writer, not teacher). I can only tell you it often comes up, so it's worth knowing it does. I'd avoid using it if I were you, especially on tests, because those are probably going to be more stringent than actual English usage. That said, since the question was if that structure can ever make any sense - the answer is yes. – user15474 Mar 21 '16 at 22:29
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No, rather is used before a verb without to to express preference. So your sentence should be I would rather not do something, e.g. I would rather not sleep.

See all uses of rather here

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"would rather" is followed by a bare infinitive as in "I would rather kiss a frog". There are variants: would rather do/not do, would sooner do, had rather do.

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