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    #1

    would rather + a past tense???

    Could someone please describe to me the structure of the below sentence and tell me which tense we refer to when we use a past tense after "would rather"?

    I would rather you paid me in cash.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: would rather + a past tense???

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    Could someone please describe to me the structure of the below sentence and tell me which tense we refer to when we use a past tense after "would rather"?

    I would rather you paid me in cash.
    This is the use of "would" as a main verb to express a wish. Normally, "would" is used as an auxiliary verb. Because it is a wish, it takes a subjunctive verb. The past tense form of the verb can double as the subjunctive in wishes and other conditional forms. In other words, you want the person to pay you cash (in the present). To put that in the subjunctive, you use the past tense form, which doesn't, in this case, refer to past time.

    This use of "would" has all but disappeared in English, but it remains in this fixed expression. In poetry, one could express a wish as "Would that you were my wife".

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    #3

    Re: would rather + a past tense???

    Is it possible to have the conjunction "that" after "would rather"?
    `
    "I would rather that you [verb]..."

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: would rather + a past tense???

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    Is it possible to have the conjunction "that" after "would rather"?
    `
    "I would rather that you [verb]..."
    Yes. That clause is a noun clause and "that" is understood.

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