How to Express Choices and Preferences in English.


There is one thing that makes the English language a little different from other languages, and that is the way people express preferences. In some languages, it is acceptable to say ‘I want that one,’ but in British English, it is more polite to say ‘I’d prefer that one’.

Of course, saying ‘I’d like X, Y or Z’ in social situations is acceptable and common too.

In this blog, we’ll look at how to express preferences in English speaking countries like the UK. Why is this important? For many reasons but most importantly, the tips you’ll read below will help you sound more natural when speaking English. And you’ll learn some better ways of saying ‘I'd like that one'!

Let’s start with the easiest example.


1. General Preferences.

These are things that people prefer in most situations. For example, I prefer coffee to tea. Notice the preposition? We use this format: I prefer X to Y to express habitual likes or habits and to compare two things:

I prefer tea to coffee.

I prefer sleeping to studying.

I prefer Italian food to Chinese. (there is no need to say food twice because Chinese is a well-known type of food).

These examples show things we prefer most of the time, but what about expressing something you would prefer right now?