Please help me to identify the usage of PREFER + TO INF. and PREFER + V.ING
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
You have asked a great question. You may be interested in what a very strict teacher named Wilson Follett said in his book entitled Modern American Usage.
(1) Mr. Follett said that you always prefer X to Y.
(a) For example, I prefer print newspapers to online newspapers. (No problem, for "newspaper" is a noun.)
(2) But if there are two infinitives, then there is a BIG problem:
I prefer to read print newspapers to to read online newspapers.
(a) As you can imagine, native speakers refuse to accept this sentence.
(3) So Mr. Follett says that I have a choice:
(a) I prefer to read print newspapers instead of reading [gerund] online newspapers.
(b) I prefer to read print newspapers rather than read [infinitive without "to"] online newspapers.
HAVE A NICE DAY!