I'm looking at this tutorial that shows the following usage:

same subject (+ base form)

I’d rather stay at home than go out tonight.

different subject (+ past simple clause):

I’d rather you stayed at home tonight.

I don't remember hearing this structure before. How common is that? I'd probably say:

I’d rather have you stay at home

Is this an equivalent and grammatically correct?

  • @YosefBaskin, thanks. So is the former in common usage? And can you please clarify hints that you hope the stayed at home comes from you (the other person).? Feb 22, 2017 at 16:31
  • Although the expression is not entirely uncommon, it looks grammatically incorrect to me. The modal verb "would" needs to be followed by the main verb, which is not the case in the expression "I'd rather you stayed at home tonight." It appears that there are two clauses here: 1) I would rather 2) You stayed at home tonight. "Rather" is not a verb, and therefore, "would" is functioning without another verb. Isn't that odd? Feb 16, 2021 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


As the two versions are practically the same, your question is a matter of interpretation.

Let's say you are talking to me. "I’d rather you stayed at home tonight" hints that you hope the stayed at home part comes from me. You hope that I want to stay home. The form is uncommon in the US.

"I'd rather have you stay at home" says that you want my company at home. The directness makes it very American. Emphasis on rather have you, since that is the action that I prefer. Fanny Brice - I'd Rather Be Blue Over You.

  • got it, thanks, I'm wondering if it's common in BE Feb 22, 2017 at 16:52
  • Don't ask, I'm in New Jersey. Feb 22, 2017 at 17:01
  • Just thought of another alternative: I prefer that you stay home - can you please say anything about it? Feb 22, 2017 at 17:32
  • 1
    yeah :) but in the context of the question? Feb 22, 2017 at 17:49
  • It is fine to say I prefer that you stay home. Feb 22, 2017 at 17:59

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