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Hi, Mr.

This point confused me for awhile. Here's what I've found in 'A Practical English Grammar':

would rather/sooner and prefer/would prefer

There is no difference between would rather and would sooner, but would rather is more often heard.

A) would rather/sooner is followed by the bare infinitive when the subject of would rather/sooner is the same as the subject of the following action:

Tom would rather read than talk.

В Subject + would rather/sooner is followed by subject + past tense (subjunctive) when the two subjects are

Shall I give you a cheque? ~ I’d rather you paid cash.

Note the use of would rather + subject + didn’t for a negative preference:

Would you like him to paint it? ~ No, I’d rather he didn’t (paint it).

Ann wants to tell Tom, but I’d rather she didn’t (tell him).

And in 'Practical English Usage':

would rather: past tense with present or future meaning

We can use would rather to say that a person would prefer somebody to do
something. We use a special structure with a past tense.

would rather + subject + past tense

I'd rather you went home now.
Tomorrow's difficult. I’d rather you came next weekend.
My wife would rather we d id n ’t see each other any more.
‘Shall I open a window?’ ‘I'd rather you didn’t.’
A present tense or present subjunctive is possible (e.g. I ’d rather he goes / he go
home now), but unusual. To talk about past actions, a past perfect tense
is possible.
I ’d rather you hadn’t done that.
However, this kind of idea is usually expressed with I wish (► 632).
I wish you hadn't done that.
In older English, had rather was used in the same way as would rather.
This structure is still found in grammars, but it is not normally used.

Also, the same rule and pattern is mentioned in here: https://dictionary.cambridge.o...-rather-would-sooner

However, I've found some sentences in 'A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language' using 'past tense' with the same subject: (As is shown in the attachment)

I'd rather I were / was in bed.

@David, Moderator& @Gustavo, Co-Moderator


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@Mr. Bashir posted:

Is there any grammar rule says that the two subjects with would rather should be the same or different to use whether ( past simple or infinitive)?

She would rather he didn't come.

She would rather (she) not come.

Hi, Mr. Bashir—If both tokens of "she" in your second example refer to the same person, the second one should not be used:

(2a) She would rather not come.

When there is a subject between "rather" and the following verb, that subject is actually the subject of a "that"-clause:

(1a) She would rather that he didn't come.

When the subject of the verb following "rather" is not expressed and is the same as the subject of "would," there is no "that"-clause:

(2b) *She would ratherthat not come.

Instead, in "She would rather not come" and "She would rather come," the main verb is the complement of the modal "would," "rather (not)" coming in between.

It should be no mystery, then, that in "would rather (not) [verb]," the verb is in the base form, since modals are always followed by the base form of a verb.

Where there is a "that"-clause, as in "She would rather [that] he didn't come," it is the "that"-clause that is the complement of "would," not the verb.

That the verb within the "that"-clause is commonly in the past tense can be accounted for as a type of backshift, since "would" is a past form.

Consider that, in historical usage, "would that . . ." was used, and that the past tense was used in the "that"-clause:

"I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues . . ."

- 1 Corinthians 14:5, King James Version (1611)

That quote is a splendid specimen of historical usage, insofar as you can see the "would rather that" structure coordinated with the "would that" structure.

Just for your awareness, it is fairly common, in native-speaker usage, for the present subjunctive to be used as an alternative to the past in the "that"-clause:

(1b) She would rather that he not come.

I am not saying that you should answer that way on your tests in Egypt, just that you should be aware that that is an acceptable alternative to most speakers.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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