3

Does the following sentence mean I prefer to go home, or something is just as fine as something else?

I'd just as soon go home.

Does this other sentence mean that either thing is good?

I'd just as soon go home as to go to party.

4

It can also be used to indicate that both options are negative, for example:

Would you like to go to a party?
I'd just as soon be eaten by wolves!

In this case, the respondent is using a situation which is clearly unpleasant (being eaten by wolves) to indicate that they don't want to go to a party. It should usually be easy to tell this is the intended meaning due to the hyperbole involved.

However, in your example:

I'd just as soon go home as go to a party.

The speaker may be indicating that whilst they don't necessarily want to go home, their preference (or lack of preference) for this is near-equal to that for going to a party. In this case, you would have to look at the wider context to understand the intended meaning.

I don't think I've ever heard it used differently to this (implying negativity), but this might just be unique to the British English I'm familiar with.

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  • 2
    True, it might indicate “they don't want to go home, they would still rather go home than go to a party” but (at least in my experience) the expression is more about indicating near-equality of preferences, rather than about positive or negative attitudes. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 7 '13 at 19:09
  • Yes, that's a good point and one I'd agree with. I more meant that whilst it does indicate an equality of preference, the speaker's feelings towards those options are (again, in my experience) usually negative. I'll edit to make that clearer. Many thanks for the comment. :) – Richard Williams Aug 7 '13 at 19:14
  • @RichardWilliams Great answer, +1! Welcome to ELL! This is a fine answer, and I'm glad to have you on the site! I hope you stick around and we get more answers like this from you :) – WendiKidd Aug 7 '13 at 20:38
  • @jwpat7 ok, so example #1 - is a mild prefence over what's been said before?, example # 2 - just equality and there's no preference here? – Dunno Aug 9 '13 at 17:27
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    @Dunno, yes, that's my view of what one can tell from the words themselves. In spoken English, and particularly in face-to-face conversation, tone of voice and body language can tilt the meaning almost any way one can imagine. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 9 '13 at 18:42
1

Does the following sentence mean I prefer to go home, or something is just as fine as something else?

Yes, I'd just as soon go home means you prefer going home.

Does this other sentence mean that either thing is good?

Sort of; it means both options are good, but you still prefer going home. It's a kinder and gentler version of number 1 because it acknowledges that you heard the other person's preference to go to the party.

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  • In this context: "Would you like to go to a party?" "I'd just as soon go home." is a polite way of expressing the preference to go home. Literally, you are saying that your preferences are equal, however the fact that you introduced the alternative implies that the alternative is the preferred one. – BobRodes Aug 7 '13 at 21:24
  • @BobRodes ok so example #1 - prefence, example # 2 - equality? – Dunno Aug 9 '13 at 17:20
  • @Dunno that's a strong approximation. The important part to keep in mind is whether the speaker has introduced the idea of what he would just as soon do or not. If someone says "Do you want to go to a party?" and the answer is "I would just as soon go home as go to a party." then there's still a mild sense of preferring to go home. If someone says "Would you rather go to a party or go home?" then if the responder would "just as soon go home" then he wants to go home. If he would "just as soon do either" then he has no preference. – BobRodes Aug 11 '13 at 20:18
0

It means that both options are equally desirable (or undesirable).

Do you want to go to the movies?

Sure. Or I'd just as soon stay home.

Both options, going to the movies, and staying home, are equally appealing.

Do you want to go the party?

I'd just as soon be eaten alive by a pack of rabid weasels!

Both options, going to the party, and being eaten by rabid weasels, are equally unappealing.

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    Which of course they are not really. :) This is an example of "hyperbole", and the construct "as soon" is often used with hyperbole to convey a negative opinion. Yet another example: "I would as soon have dinner with him as I would set my house on fire." We could go on. – BobRodes Aug 7 '13 at 21:28
0

Abbreviation for “I’d as soon to as not”, but in West Texas is way of accepting generous offer without seeming overly appreciative.

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