to prefer A to B

Ume

Banned
Japanese
Hello.

1) to prefer A over B
I prefer regular coffee over special blends.
2) to prefer A to B
I prefer regular coffee to special blends.

I always use #2. Are both acceptable?
 
  • roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Search prefer over in google. Look at the results:


    "Results 1-10 of about 10,400,000 for prefer over"

    So, there are people who use that form. Example: What one feature of Apple's Safari browser do you prefer over Firefox?
    (talking about internet browsers)
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    panjandrum said:
    Always (2) prefer A to B.
    I have never used (1) and it clunks (it sounds wrong to me).
    Panj, not that this example is definitive, but the Grammar Hotline at the University of Delaware writes
    Speakers of American English prefer the "I don't have a child" construction over the "I have no child" construction.
    Maybe it's an AE/BE difference?

    Elizabeth
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    roxcyn said:
    Perhaps, but as I said I use both options. They both sound okay to me :D
    Sorry, what I meant was that perhaps "prefer over" is used in the U.S. in addition to "prefer to" while not so much in BE. Just a speculation. ;)

    Elizabeth
     

    alitza

    Senior Member
    Romania, Romanian
    I'd prefer the verb "to choose" to the verb " to prefer" ( :D ) in the first sentence, which conveys essentially the same idea.
    Therefore, " I choose regular coffee over special blends", but "I prefer regular coffee to special blends".
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'd comfortably say either prefer over or prefer to. ~Clunk~watch your toes~
    I'd probably write prefer to, though.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    roxcyn said:
    Search prefer over in google. Look at the results:


    "Results 1-10 of about 10,400,000 for prefer over"

    So, there are people who use that form. Example: What one feature of Apple's Safari browser do you prefer over Firefox?
    (talking about internet browsers)
    That's a very surprising result?
    I am not surprised that there are lots of prefer over users, and it is probably another AE/BE difference.

    My Google result for "prefer over" is dramatically different, and I can't replicate roxcyn's figure:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 132,000 for "prefer over".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 138,000,000 for "prefer to".

    For UK pages:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 667 for "prefer over".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 10,500,000 for "prefer to".

    Ah... well that explains the variations in view either side the Atlantic:)

    Edit to insert CAUTION
    The results for "prefer to" listed above must include all instances of sentences such as "I would prefer to eat a bowlful of slugs."

    I can't avoid commenting on the example sentence.
    What one feature of Apple's Safari browser do you prefer over Firefox?
    No reflection at all on over-users, but surely that is a badly-constructed sentence?
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    panjandrum said:
    I can't avoid commenting on the example sentence.
    What one feature of Apple's Safari browser do you prefer over Firefox?
    No reflection at all on over-users, but surely that is a badly-constructed sentence?

    I got that from the google result. Hm, well I think it has to do something with local ambuiguity. You expect something totally different then you get something else. At first I had to stop and think and them it sounded okay, but then again I am not a grammatician.

    “I prefer western outfits over Indian” – Rimi Sen
    Customers Prefer Service Over Price
    Why I prefer Opera over Firefox - Arve Bersvendsen
    » Sony prefer PS2 over PSP :: TechWhack New
    Some prefer the old methods over spraying - 08/03/2006

    So as can be seen, there are lots of examples on google.
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    roxcyn said:
    At first I had to stop and think and them it sounded okay, but then again I am not a grammatician.
    If you were, you'd be the first, as I don't think this word currently exists. ;) A grammarian, perhaps?

    panhandrum said:
    I can't avoid commenting on the example sentence.
    What one feature of Apple's Safari browser do you prefer over Firefox?
    No reflection at all on over-users, but surely that is a badly-constructed sentence?
    Do you have an alternate construct in mind, panj? I take it you're not objecting to the use of prefer over, but to the overall construction. It sounds off to me as well, as the structure isn't parallel. Maybe:
    Which feature of Apple's Safari brower do you most prefer to Firefox's features?

    Elizabeth
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    TrentinaNE said:
    [...] Do you have an alternate construct in mind, panj? I take it you're not objecting to the use of prefer over, but to the overall construction. It sounds off to me as well, as the structure isn't parallel. Maybe:
    Which feature of Apple's Safari brower do you most prefer to Firefox's features?
    That will be what made me feel bad about the sentence (which I knew was taken from the google links, not a roxcyn creation).

    I couldn't possibly comment on prefer over, a usage that is entirely natural on the other side of the Atlantic.:D

    Oops - I've just realised that those Google comparisons I posted a while back are not relevant to this discussion.
    Google has counted all instances of "I would prefer to ..."
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Here are some results for phrases that avoid the possibility of to's being part of an infinitive.

    They're not terribly telling, I'm afraid.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 259 for "prefer this to that". (0.57 seconds)
    Results 1 - 10 of about 370 for "prefer this over that". (1.47 seconds)

    Results 1 - 10 of about 329 for "prefer apples to oranges". (0.63 seconds)
    Results 1 - 10 of about 130 for "prefer apples over oranges". (0.70 seconds)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thanks Elroy for providing a few test phrases.
    Now I'll plug them in for a UK-only experiment.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 59 for "prefer this to that.
    Results 1 - 3 of 3 for "prefer this over that.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 18 for "prefer apples to oranges".
    Results 1 - 1 of 1 for "prefer apples over oranges".

    The sample size is small, and the analysis tool is flawed, but I think there is enough there to confirm a definite AE/BE variation.
     
    Top