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I've been studying the different structures between 'prefer' and 'rather'. I have a few questions.

  1. Can use 'to' after 'would prefer' like

I'd prefer you to stay at home tonight.

  1. Can I use the past tense after 'would prefer' like 'would rather'? If I can, are the meanings of these two sentences the same?

I'd rather you didn't go out. vs I'd prefer you didn't go out.

  1. Should I put 'that' after 'would prefer'?
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    "prefer it if..." is better. – Mick Oct 31 '16 at 8:17
  • @Mick Why don't you write an answer? – user140086 Oct 31 '16 at 8:49
  • @Rathony I could not easily provide any supporting evidence. As is often the case, I know "what", but I don't know "why". – Mick Oct 31 '16 at 8:51
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    @Mick We can use would prefer + object pronoun + to-infinitive or would prefer it if + past simple. "Prefer it if" is just more polite and i guess more formal. – SovereignSun Oct 31 '16 at 11:55
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http://www.grammarbank.com/would-rather-would-prefer.html

  • I'd prefer you to stay at home tonight. = I'd rather you stayed at home tonight.

  • I'd prefer (it if you didn't) you not to stay at home tonight. = I'd rather you didn't stay at home tonight.

  • I'd rather you didn't go out. vs I'd prefer you didn't go out. - Possible, yet better to say: I'd prefer you not to go out. or I'd prefer it if you didn't go out.

Yes, you can use or not use "that".

  • "I'd prefer that you don't go out"

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