preferable to/than

cfu507

Senior Member
Hebrew
Hi,
Are both examples correct?
1. Tea with milk is preferable to coffee
2. Tea with milk is preferable than coffee
Is no. 2 correct too? (I've seen some sentences with "preferable than").
Are there any rules when I should say "preferable to" or "preferable than"?
Thank you
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Hi,

    Are both examples correct?
    1. Tea with milk is preferable to coffee :tick:
    2. Tea with milk is preferable than coffee :cross:
    Is no. 2 correct too? (I've seen some sentences with "preferable than").
    Are there any rules when I should say "preferable to" or "preferable than"?

    Thank you
    I can't think of an example of preferable than.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    There are about 190,000 hits for "preferable than" on Google, but I felt as though many of them should have been "preferable to" and the writer got it wrong. Some of them did seem all right, however, but I don't know what the rule is.

    With your example, as SwissPete has said, only number 1 sounds correct.
     

    tm8992

    New Member
    English/USA
    In my experience,
    Tea with milk is preferable to coffee <- Best
    Tea with milk is more preferable than coffee <- OK (though maybe still incorrect, it sounds ok)

    It seems to me, that to use "than", you need to be comparing--thus using more or less sounds fine.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Preferable than", like "different than" is an error. Just as "different than" should be "different from", "preferable than" should be "preferable to". In both cases, the mistaken usage is likely to come by false analogy to the correct form "other than".
     

    cfu507

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    "Preferable than", like "different than" is an error. Just as "different than" should be "different from", "preferable than" should be "preferable to". In both cases, the mistaken usage is likely to come by false analogy to the correct form "other than".
    Thank you GWB, so all the examples I have found in Google are probably wrong, as Cycloneviv suggested.
     

    Prince Sadh

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi & English
    1. Toffees are preferable than candies.

    Someone told me that this sentence is incorrect. If this sentence is incorrect then which is the correct form?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    It should be "preferable to". (The sentence doesn't make much sense because toffees are candy too.)

    There's an earlier thread on this: <Link removed>

    Thank you, Barque. I have merged both threads. Nat
     

    Vinnie flores

    Senior Member
    California - Spanish & English
    Toffees are preferable than candies is incorrect. The correct form is -:
    Toffees are preferable to candies is correct.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Tea with milk is more preferable than coffee <- OK (though maybe still incorrect, it sounds ok)
    Tm8992 no longer appears to be active in the forum, but in case anyone else reads that post, I'd point out that that sentence isn't OK as it stands — and doesn't even sound OK to my ear. To make any sense, we'd still need to know what tea with milk is preferable to. It might be "Coffee is preferable to cabbage juice, but tea with milk is more preferable than coffee", meaning that tea with milk is more preferable [to cabbage juice] than coffee [is to cabbage juice].

    In any case, that's a pretty tortuous sentence, so I'd probably express it differently.

    Ws
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Some comparatives take "to", others "than". There does not seem to be any rule to cover these. You just have to learn which words take the "to" or the "than".

    Better - than
    Preferable - to
    Finer - than
    Superior - to
    Worthier - than
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    There does not seem to be any rule to cover these. You just have to learn which words take the "to" or the "than".
    Grammatically speaking, better, finer and worthier are comparative adjectives (= 'more good', 'more fine', 'more worthy'); so they take "than".

    Semantically, preferable and superior contain the idea of comparison, but grammatically they are not the comparative forms of adjectives (even though superior was originally derived from a Latin comparative). They don't mean 'more prefer(red?)', 'more super'. Therefore they don't take "than".

    Preferable and superior are what grammarians call positive adjectives (just like good, fine and worthy).

    Ws
    [Edit: Added last line]
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Grammatically speaking, better, finer and worthier are comparative adjectives (= 'more good', 'more fine', 'more worthy'); so they take "than".

    Semantically, preferable and superior contain the idea of comparison, but grammatically they are not the comparative forms of adjectives (even though superior was originally derived from a Latin comparative). They don't mean 'more prefer(red?)', 'more super'. Therefore they don't take "than".

    Preferable and superior are what grammarians call positive adjectives (just like good, fine and worthy).

    Ws
    [Edit: Added last line]
    I am OK with that explanation. I didn't see it when I commented. (And now we know...)
     
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