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Learning English | BBC World Service
You had better go now. = You should go now.
I would rather you went. = I would prefer (if) you went.
But can we say I/you had rather ... If so, in what meaning? Can you provide an example? Would it be up-to-date English?
Do we have to use if in I would prefer (if) you went.
Thank you, nice summary, however, it doesnt answer any of my questions. I know all the information there.
You often hear people say "I'd rather...", and since the contraction of "would" and "had" is the same it's difficult to know which word is being used.
I would always write "would rather".
In the past the other version was correct (Shakespeare used "had rather" at least once) but I think it's now archaic.
I'd say "I would prefer that you went", or "I would prefer it if you went" -- but the first sentence is better.