A preference for someone else

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
Hi forer@
Could someone please tell me which one of the following sentences is grammatically wrong?
a) I’m too tired. I prefer you to make the dinner.
b) I’m too tired. I’d prefer you to make the dinner.
c) I’m too tired. I’d rather you made the dinner.
Source: self-made.
For me all of the grammatically correct and I use them interchangeably. I think natives use them in the same way too.
 
  • LisaPaloma

    Senior Member
    Am English - NC
    A-friend,

    None of them is really "grammatically wrong". The last one is most "correct", but using the subjunctive ("made") sounds rather formal.
    We usually say "I prefer..." to express a general preference (I always prefer you to make dinner), whereas "I'd prefer..." relates more specifically to the immediate situation.

    Personally, I don't use "prefer" much, and in this case I would probably say something like, "Why don't you make dinner?" This is informal but polite.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    A-friend,

    None of them is really "grammatically wrong". The last one is most "correct", but using the subjunctive ("made") sounds rather formal.
    We usually say "I prefer..." to express a general preference (I always prefer you to make dinner), whereas "I'd prefer..." relates more specifically to the immediate situation.

    Personally, I don't use "prefer" much, and in this case I would probably say something like, "Why don't you make dinner?" This is informal but polite.
    Thank you Lisa
    And what about using a gerund after prefer? I mean:
    I’m too tired. I prefer you making the dinner.
    plus this question:
    Why you put the "
    grammatically wrong" inside the quotation marks? Did you mean that they are correct grammatically, but they could be incorrect semantically?
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    I think we'd usually say, "I'd rather you made dinner." (No article before "dinner".)
    Thank you Parla, but would you please tell me more? If someone uses the other choices (including the gerund form which I mentioned above) then would they be semantically incorrect? (I know they are not grammatically wrong; of course I doubt about the gerund form: "I’m too tired. I prefer you making dinner.")
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The gerund would require "your": "I'd prefer your making dinner." It just sounds a bit too formal to me for something you'd say to a spouse or someone else you lived with. "I'd rather you made dinner" sounds more natural to me.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    The gerund would require "your": "I'd prefer your making dinner." It just sounds a bit too formal to me for something you'd say to a spouse or someone else you lived with. "I'd rather you made dinner" sounds more natural to me.
    Thanks again Parla, but let me ask two more questions:
    1)Did you mean when one needs the gerund form, they will be obliged to use possessive pronoun or its a specific condition of this particular example?
    For instance may I say:
    - I prefer your going home now.
    - I prefer his coming with us.
    - I prefer her not knowing.
    - My girlfriend prefers our not seeing each other anymore.
    - I prefer your taking a taxi to walking - it’s not safe on the streets at night.
    - Should I tell them the news, or do you prefer their not knowing?

    Source: self-made examples.
    For me all of them are correct grammatically and as you mentioned just a little too formal, but I need to know weather altogether they sound natural to you or not?
    ------------------------------------------------
    2) How the following examples sounds to you (I mean about being natural or formal as you mentioned about "a" and "d"):
    b) I’m too tired. I prefer you to make dinner.
    c) I’m too tired. I’d prefer you to make dinner.
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I just wouldn't use "prefer" in this situation, A-friend.

    Actually, I'd probably say, "I'm really tired. Could you make dinner?"
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    I just wouldn't use "prefer" in this situation, A-friend.

    Actually, I'd probably say, "I'm really tired. Could you make dinner?"
    Thank you very much Parla for your attention
    But I think I have to ask my first question again. :)
    I need to know weather using a possessive pronoun in that structure is obligatory or not? Supposing what you mentioned is a rule, then I will be able to make the following sentences:
    - I prefer your going home now.
    - I prefer his coming with us.
    - I prefer her not knowing.
    - My girlfriend prefers our not seeing each other anymore.
    - I prefer your taking a taxi to walking - it’s not safe on the streets at night.
    - Should I tell them the news, or do you prefer their not knowing?
    Am I right? Are they correct grammatically?
     
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