I was wondering if I may write a sentence like this:

I would rather you were to have told me about it earlier (than...)

If I'm correct, It should mean the same as

I would rather you had told me about it earlier (than...)


The two meanings are slightly different. Example one, ..."you were to have"..implies to me a degree of compulsion and perhaps a greater degree of uncertainty as to whether the act would be carried out. Example two, which is neater, seems to me to be the more standard construction in British English. In earlier days, the more usual construction was to say "I had rather", analogous to "I had better".

  • So, If I say " I would rather you didn't tell him about it" and "I would rather you weren't to tell him about it" more or less they share the same meaning? – Francis Rick Onorato Apr 24 '17 at 17:57
  • I think so, yes. I am no expert, mind: just a native British English speaker interested in the language. And bearing in mind comments elsewhere about the many different dialects in the UK, I am Middle Class, I live South of London and went to Public School! I suppose I aspire to Standard BBC English. – user232768 Apr 25 '17 at 8:26
  • At least U r English... I'm italian and here people are not used to speaking English on daily basis – Francis Rick Onorato Apr 25 '17 at 9:54

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