Is there any comparative expression that belongs straight to the non-comparative expression "I would like" - something like good, better, the best?

I always think of "I'd rather" but is it incorrect to say "I'd rather a cup of tea (instead of / than) a hot chocolate."?

And the superlative: "I'd most rather" or "I'd most like" + (a cup of tea.)?

  • The first is prefer -- "I'd prefer a cup of tea (instead of a hot chocolate)." – Mick Dec 17 '16 at 1:46
  • I would love a cup of tea? – jimm101 Dec 17 '16 at 3:16
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    Are you postulating a scenario where you'd rather A than B, and you'd rather C than D, and you want to convey that one of those preferences is stronger than the other? You can certainly say I'd rather A than B, but I'd much rather C than D, which would contextually imply that the latter preference is stronger. But I don't think English has any easy way of explicitly conveying that "second order preference" using the word rather (that's to say, more rather doesn't really work for me). – FumbleFingers Dec 17 '16 at 13:41
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    @DanielKatz You can say “I’d most like a cup of tea”, but it sounds a bit unusual. “I'd like a cup of tea most of all” is more normal-sounding, but there is no commonly-used way in English to express a superlative preference explicitly, unlike languages like German (am liebsten) for instance. You'd probably be most likely to hear something like, “But what I’d really like is a cup of tea”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 17 '16 at 23:10

More than anything, I would like chamomile.

Most of all, I would like hibiscus.

It's a little weird, though. I had to put the "more" and "most" at the beginning to make it work.

I'm sorry, I have no idea how to document this.

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    It's a bit of a semantic gap in English, that's why it ends up being weird. We just don't tell to compare our preferences grammatically like this in English. Compare with German where you could easily say (with the disclaimer that my German grammar is dreadful), “Ich möchte gern einen Tee” (I’d like to have a cup of tea), “Ich möchte lieber einen Tee” (I'd more like a cup of tea), and “Ich möchte am liebsten einen Tee” (I'd most like a cup of tea). Without sounding odd. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 17 '16 at 23:20
  • In the thefreedictionary.com, I've found "They like sweets and biscuits but they like ice-cream most of all." I see that the "Most of all" is very common so that's probably what I sought. – Daniel Katz Dec 17 '16 at 23:24
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    @DanielKatz - Well, there you aren't trying to combine with "would." Combining with "would" is what makes your question so challenging. Without "would" there are more options, e.g. I like Cambria more than Times New Roman, but I like Garamond best [of all]. – aparente001 Dec 18 '16 at 7:19
  • @aparente001 Yes, I was hoping to find something close to the thing I know in my language similar to "most preferably". Does this sound odd?: "Most preferably, I'd have a cup of tea." The "most of all" is a structure that works with or without the "would" so I forgot about it when I posted the dictionary example. – Daniel Katz Dec 19 '16 at 21:36
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    @DanielKatz - "Most preferably" is unusual but I will give you permission to say it. Non-native speakers of English are allowed to use unusual expressions when they can be clearly understood and are not annoying to the ear. "Most preferably, I'd have a cup of tea" is not only not annoying, it is also rather charming. Please go right ahead. Maybe you'll set a trend! – aparente001 Dec 20 '16 at 2:16

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