“Would rather” or “had rather” indicates preference, similar to “wish”, used in unreal situation.

 

1.  To indicate an unreal present:

 

Would rather / had rather + past tense

 

a.  I’d rather John lived with his brother.

=> John does not live with his brother. 

 

b.  I would rather John did not live with his brother

=> John lives with his brother.

 

c.  I had rather John lived with his brother than with his parents.

=> John did not live with his brother.  He lives with his parents instead.

 

 2.  To indicate an unreal past:

Would rather / had rather + past perfect tense

 

a.  I would rather my husband had purchased that TV.

=> My husband did not purchase that TV. 

 

b.  I had rather my husband hadn’t purchased that TV.

=> My husband purchased that TV. 

 

c.  I'd rather my husband had purchased that TV than that camera.

=>  My husband did not purchased that TV.  Instead, he purchased that camera.

 

3.  To indicate an unreal future:

Would rather / had rather + bare infinitive of the verb

 

a.  I'd rather Ms. Swanson visit us tomorrow.

=> Ms. Swanson will not visit us tomorrow.

 

b.  I had rather Ms. Swanson not visit us tomorrow.

=> Ms. Swanson will visit us tomorrow.

 

c.  I would rather Ms. Swanson visit us tomorrow than next Tuesday.

=>  Ms. Swanson will not visit us tomorrow.  She will visit us next Tuesday.

 

 

 

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