Prefer 的用法

Prefer 是個及物動詞,意為「更喜歡,較喜歡;寧願,寧可,更願意,更希望」。由於是狀態動詞,prefer 本身不用進行式,其後可接名詞 (片語)、不定詞或動名詞當受詞。Prefer 經常與介系詞 to 所引導的介系詞片語連用來比較兩個事物或兩個動作。例如:

  • Do you prefer summer or winter? (你比較喜歡夏天還是冬天?)
  • He prefers his daughter to live near him. (他更希望他女兒住在他附近)
  • Do you prefer to exercise indoors or outdoors? (你比較喜歡在室內還是戶外運動?)
  • She prefers living in Kaohsiung. (她比較喜歡住高雄)
  • I prefer white wine to red. (比起紅葡萄酒,我更喜歡白葡萄酒)
  • A lot of people prefer the quiet countryside to the noisy cities. (許多人喜歡寧靜的鄉村更勝於喧囂的城市)
  • Most people prefer watching television to reading books. (比起看書,大多數人更喜歡看電視)

必須注意的是,prefer… to… 是固定搭配,不可使用 than 來替代介系詞 to。例如:

  • Mary prefers coffee to tea. (瑪麗喜歡咖啡更勝於茶) (正)
    Mary prefers coffee than tea. (誤)
  • Mary prefers drinking coffee to tea. (瑪麗喜歡喝咖啡更勝於喝茶) (正)
    Mary prefers drinking coffee than tea. (誤)

然而,我們可以使用略具強調作用的 rather than 來代替 to。但這就會出現 rather than 後面要接何種詞類的問題。這是個經常被討論且困擾許多人的問題。如果 prefer 後接動名詞,那麼 rather than 後面可接動名詞,但這並不常用;如果 prefer 後接不定詞,那麼 rather than 後面要接省略 to 的不定詞,即原形動詞。例如:

  • Most people prefer watching television to reading books. (正) - 佳
  • Most people prefer watching television rather than reading books. (正) - 不常用
  • Most people prefer to watch television rather than read books. (正) - 最佳
  • Most people prefer to watch television rather than reading books. (正) - 不常用

如上所述,與 like (喜歡)、love (喜歡) 和 hate (討厭,不喜歡) 等表示喜歡或不喜歡的動詞一樣,prefer 亦可接不定詞或動名詞,但不定詞型態比較常用,尤其在美式英語中,不定詞型態比動名詞型態來得常見許多。這兩種型態的意思基本上並無區別,但含意略有差異。動名詞型態強調動作或經驗,是在表達一般的偏好,而不定詞型態比較強調動作或事件的結果,是在表達一種習慣。例如:

  • I prefer going to the movies. (我比較喜歡看電影)
  • He prefers working on his own. (他比較喜歡獨自工作)
  • I prefer to solve a computer problem as soon as possible. (我寧可盡快解決電腦問題)
  • I prefer not to wear a tie to work. (我寧願不打領帶上班)

同樣地,與 like、love 和 hate 的前面可加上 would (或縮寫 ‘d) 來表示想要、不想要、寧願或不願等意思一樣,prefer 的前面亦可加上 would 或 ‘d,但此時這些動詞的後面僅能接不定詞,不可接動名詞。例如:

  • I would like/love to buy this car. (我想買這部車) (正)
    I would like/love buying this car. (誤)
  • I’d hate (= would not like) to cause a problem. (我不想製造問題) (正)
    I’d hate causing a problem. (誤)
  • I’d prefer not to live in Taipei. (我寧願不住在台北) (正)
    I’d prefer not living in Taipei. (誤)

Would prefer 主要用來表示我們比較喜歡、寧願或更希望某人做某事,其後可接受格代名詞 + 不定詞、that 子句或 if 子句,其中以不定詞結構和 if 子句最常用,that 子句比它們少用多了,但 that 子句若省略連接詞 that,則又變成這三種句型中最常用的。這三種句型都是指現在或未來的事件。

Would prefer + that 子句的句型是一種假設語氣,用來表示「與現在事實相反」或「未來不太可能發生的事件或不太可能實現的願望」。That 子句的動詞有三種型態,最常用的是過去簡單式,其次是 should + 原形動詞,最少見的型態是省略 should 後的原形動詞 (這種型態不可用於否定句)。例如:

  • I would prefer that John told me the truth. (我希望約翰對我說實話)
    I would prefer that John should tell me the truth.
    I would prefer that John tell me the truth.
  • I’d prefer that the job were a little closer to my home. (我希望工作地點離家更近一點) - 這裡不可使用 was。
    I’d prefer that the job should be a little closer to my home.
    I’d prefer that the job be a little closer to my home.
  • DPP would prefer that the election did not take place in the next six months. (民進黨希望這項選舉不要在未來六個月內舉行)
    DPP would prefer that the election should not take place in the next six months.

Would prefer it + if 子句 + 過去簡單式 (BE 動詞用 were) 的句型是一種現在和未來條件句,句中的 it 不可省略。例如:

  • I would prefer it if John told me the truth. (我希望約翰對我說實話)
  • I’d prefer it if the job were a little closer to my home. (我希望工作地點離家更近一點)
  • I would prefer it if you didn’t smoke in here. (麻煩你不要在這裡抽菸)

Would prefer + 受格代名詞 + 不定詞的句型其實是 would prefer it + if 子句的減化。例如:

  • They’d prefer me to drive. (他們比較想讓我來開車)
    = They’d prefer it if I drove.
  • I’d prefer you not to smoke in here. (麻煩你不要在這裡抽菸)
    = I’d prefer it if you didn’t smoke in here.
  • Would you prefer him to come on Monday instead of Tuesday? (你更希望他星期一來,而不是星期二來?)
    = Would you prefer it if he came on Monday instead of Tuesday?
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