I like more apples than oranges.

I like apples rather than oranges.

Could anyone tell me the shades of meaning?


Well one difference is that

  1. I like more apples than oranges.

is wrong but

  1. I like apples, rather than oranges.

is correct.

For 1 you may have been thinking of

  1. I like apples more than oranges.

Which is correct.

2 and 3 are nearly the same. The subtle difference is that 3 implies that you like oranges, just not as much as you like apples. 2 doesn't indicate like oranges at all.

Note: when I say 1 is wrong it's only because I'm assuming you don't mean of all the apples and oranges you've tried you've liked more of the apples. This would mean you're judging each on a case by case basis. If you had 3 apples and 2 oranges and liked them all then technically you liked more apples than oranges. But that's a bit silly.

  • Another meaning for #1 could be about proportion e.g. "When you're making juice, do you like to use equal quantities of apples and oranges?". Agree it's probably not what the OP was looking for though. – anotherdave Dec 7 '15 at 15:26

Both expressions are not very good English. Better options include:

I prefer apples to oranges.

I like apples more than oranges.

"Rather than" doesn't really fit well here at all. You could use it like this, though:

Rather than oranges, she chose to eat apples …

… but even that is a bit of a stretch.

  • 'Here' needs to be better defined. 'I like apples rather than oranges.' may be used as a corrective in a formal register: 'All the children in my class this year brought me oranges at Christmas, because my previous class had told them I like fruit. I wish they'd added that I like apples rather than oranges.' – Edwin Ashworth Dec 7 '15 at 17:32

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