prefer

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman, Middle French preferer, (French préférer), from Latin praeferō.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

prefer ‎(third-person singular simple present prefers, present participle preferring, simple past and past participle preferred)

  1. (transitive, now dated) To advance, promote (someone). [from 14thc.]
  2. (transitive) To be in the habit of choosing something rather than something else; to favor; to like better. [from 14thc.]
    I prefer tea to coffee.
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter VIII, The Younger Set:
      "My tastes," he said, still smiling, "incline me to the garishly sunlit side of this planet." And, to tease her and arouse her to combat: "I prefer a farandole to a nocturne; I'd rather have a painting than an etching; Mr. Whistler bores me with his monochromatic mud; I don't like dull colours, dull sounds, dull intellects; []."
  3. (transitive) To present or submit (something) to an authority (now usually in "to prefer charges"). [from 16thc.]
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To put forward for acceptance; to introduce, recommend (to). [16th-19thc.]
    • 1630, John Smith, True Travels, in Kupperman 1988, p.36:
      one Master David Hume, who making some use of his purse, gave him Letters to his friends in Scotland to preferre him to King James.
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, XVII:
      Such were the arguments which my will boldly preferred to my conscience, as coin which ought to be current, and which conscience, like a grumbling shopkeeper, was contented to accept [].

Usage notes[edit]

  • The verb can be used in three different forms:
    1. prefer + noun + to (or over) + noun. Example: I prefer coffee to tea.
    2. prefer + gerund + to (or over) + gerund. Example: I prefer skiing to swimming.
    3. prefer + full infinitive + rather than + bare infinitive. Example: I prefer to eat fish rather than (eat) meat.

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