you would rather A than B

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Hi all, this is from 'The Rosie Project' from Graeme Simsion.

Don, a thirty nine years old man attends a party with Bianca, a professional dance player.
Don was pretending to be good at dancing to invite her and have practiced various dance for a week.
However, at the party, he shows his incompetence. She gets angry and go home.
After the party, Don takes a taxi with his friend Rosie.
The original sentences are as follows.

<-----Excess quote removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->
Then she said, '<...>You did, didn't you? That's worse. You'd rather make a fool of yourself in front of everyone than tell her she didn't float your boat.'
'It would have been extremely awkward. <...>'

I don't understand the second sentence from the last.
I know the expression 'would rather A than B', but in this context it is confusing. I think she should say 'You'd rather tell her she didn't float your boat than make a fool of yourself in front of everyone.'
Can you give me some explanation?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    No, it's the other way around. He preferred making a fool of himself (by dancing badly, so that the woman would lose her interest in him) over telling him that she didn't float his boat (i.e., that he was not interested in her). The sentence is correct as written.


    New York - English, Spanish
    Maybe what confuses you is you understanding what Rosie said as a statement of advice, but it isn't. What she is doing is actually pointing out what he DID do, as a way of placing emphasis on the decision he took which she didn't agree with. The statement you think Rosie should say doesn't fit. You are thinking something like: 'You should have told her she didn't float your boat rather than making a fool of yourself in front of everyone.' But like I said, that is not what she is trying to say.
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