En un post anterior hablé de cómo se usa la estructura verbal would rather en inglés y en qué se diferencia de prefer y would prefer. Sin embargo, me dejé algunos cabos sueltos que me gustaría atar aquí y en artículos posteriores. One of those loose ends to tie up is the use of WOULD SOONER as a (less frequent) synonym for WOULD RATHER. Y te lo cuento para que no te pille por sorpresa cuando veas ‘I WOULD SOONER (do something than do sth else)’ significando lo mismo que ‘I WOULD RATHER (do sth than do sth else)’ o que ‘I WOULD PREFER (to do sth rather than sth else)’.

Las tres formas significan “prefiero” o, más concretamente, “preferiría” (hacer una cosa a/antes que otra).

Pero ahora quiero que te imagines mi cara de circunstancia y las gotas de sudor que me caían por la frente viendo por primera vez esas combinaciones mezcladas en el ejercicio 4 (aka Key Word Transformation exercise) de la parte ‘Reading and Use of English’ de un examen C1 Advanced (CAE).

If my memory serves me well/right/correctly, the word given was SOONER.

Yep, it caught me completely off (my) guard 🙈

Resumen

If asked, I WOULD RATHER/SOONER have a cup of freshly ground coffee than (have) a cuppa

Resulta que la estructura verbal would rather (usually reduced to ‘d rather), puede ser sustituida por would prefer to, pero también reemplazada por would sooner y, además, por – wait for it – would (just) as soon.

En este epígrafe hablaremos de WOULD SOONER y en el punto siguiente te contaré cómo se usa WOULD (JUST) AS SOON.

‘I, HE, SHE, etc. WOULD RATHER …’ es una de las muchas formas que existen para hablar de preferencias en inglés. Equivale a ‘I, HE, SHE, etc. WOULD SOONER …’, pero esta última opción es mucho menos común, aunque más avanzada también.

La buena noticia es que would sooner tiene el mismo patrón que would rather, es decir, sus estructuras verbales son exactamente iguales.

Te lo mostraré con unos ejemplos:

  1. I don’t need a lift into town, I’d rather/sooner stroll
  2. I’d rather/sooner not go, to be honest
  3. She said she’d sooner/rather stay at home with her parents than share a flat with other undergraduates
  4. I’d rather/sooner you didn’t reveal my little secret

Fijémonos ahora en los detalles gramaticales de las frases anteriores:

  1. ‘would rather’ or ‘would sooner’ are not used with an -ing form or a to-infinitive but with the base form of the verb (=infinitive)
  2. when the subject is the same person in a negative sentence, both ‘would rather’ and ‘would sooner’ are immediately followed by “not”
  3. you can employ the pattern ‘would rather/sooner + infinitive (without to) + than + infinitive if two actions are being compared and one is preferred over the other
  4. when you use “not” referring to a different subject, attach it to the second clause, not to ‘would rather’ or ‘would sooner’

Now, I reckon (=think) it’s time for us to talk about ‘WOULD (JUST) AS SOON …’

If I were asked, I’D RATHER/SOONER/JUST AS SOON avoid having energy drinks

English speakers use the phrases would sooner and would (just) as soon when they say they prefer one thing to another thing. However, if I’m honest with you, the former is more common than the latter. Yet (=despite this), would rather is by far more common than both of those phrases.

Well, I know that I’m talking about minor details. Nevertheless, these small facts are the ones you are occasionally asked, whether explicitly or implicitly, both in the C1 Advanced exam (CAE) and in the C2 Proficiency exam (CPE) 😏

So, why don’t we have a look at some sentences and compare WOULD RATHER, WOULD SOONER and WOULD JUST AS SOON?

  1. I would/I’d just as soon you didn’t drive my scooter while I’m away
  2. I would/I’d sooner you didn’t ride my motorbike while I’m gone
  3. I would rather/I’d rather you didn’t take my motorcycle during my absence

By the way, usé sinónimos (en cursiva) en las frases para forzarme a pensar en opciones equivalentes y así evitar repetir las mismas palabras todo el tiempo. For the record, es un ejercicio que hago constantemente para mantenerme (lingüísticamente) en forma 🏋️‍♀️🤸‍♂️

Cómo usar would rather, would sooner y would just as soon en inglés

Por aquí te dejo más ejemplos con la estructura más formal ‘sb WOULD (JUST) AS SOON (do sth/sb didn’t do sth)’:

  • Thanks for the invitation, but if you don’t mind, we’d just as soon stay at home tonight because I’m feeling a little unwell
  • I’d just as soon go with you to the corner grocery store if that’s okay
  • We’d as soon you didn’t tell our father
  • I’d would just as soon not see you again. Good bye and good riddance! 👋🖕

Good, I guess the time is ripe/right to study another usage of WOULD (JUST) AS SOON

When one digs deep into the topic, they may find out that WOULD (JUST) AS SOON sometimes has other meanings

Interestingly (enough), though on a slightly different context, la expresión sb WOULD (JUST) AS SOON” también puede emplearse para decir que te da lo mismo hacer una cosa que otra, ya que cualquier acción u opción te viene bien por igual.

That’s to say/That’s is/In other words, cuando se trata de elegir entre varias alternativas, pero no tienes preferencia por una sola porque las opciones propuestas te gustan de manera equitativa, puedes optar por esta fórmula 👇

‘I, he, etc. WOULD JUST AS SOON DO sth AS DO sth else’

De hecho, si te fijas, el patrón ‘as … as …’ no está aquí por casualidadquite the opposite, actually!

I’m pretty sure you remember that the structure as + adjective/adverb + as’ (=tan/to … como …) is used in English to make comparisons when two people, things or situations are equal in some way.

So, you might use the idiom ‘sb + WOULD JUST AS SOON do sth AS do sth else’ in case you wanted to say that:

  • sb would equally well (=de igual modo) like to do sth as do sth else that has been suggested
  • sb wants to do one thing as much as another thing
  • it does not matter to sb what they do

Do you get it? 😉

Veamos algunos ejemplos, y posibles traducciones al español, para que quede más claro:

  1. I’d just as soon stay at home as go out tonight (=me daría igual quedarme en casa o salir esta noche)
  2. He’d just as soon have pizza as (have) a hamburger (=le daría lo mismo tomar pizza o hamburguesa)
  3. He‘d just as soon play video games at home as go outside with his friends (=tanto le da jugar al ordenador en casa como ir afuera con sus amigos).

In a more advanced level, you can use either WOULD SOONER or WOULD (JUST) AS SOON any time you mean WOULD RATHER

When it comes to talking about what we prefer, there’s a wide range of ways of EXPRESSING A PREFERENCE. However, we tend to overuse the verb ‘prefer’.

That’s why, I’m trying to show you how you can state what your preferred choice is by avoiding (would) prefer.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you not to employ those verb options. I’m just saying there are other less frequent alternatives (e.g. ‘would sooner‘ or ‘would just as soon‘) which might come in handy in an official exam.

Having said that, let’s do an exercise that aims to 💪 strengthen your language flexibility muscles 💪, a must for English exam takers – especially in advanced & proficiency levels 👌

Pay close attention to these verbal variations:

  1. If you ask me, I prefer making a phone call to sending an email
  2. In my opinion, I’d prefer to make a phone call rather than send an email
  3. IMO, I would rather/I’d rather speak to somebody on the phone than send
  4. In my humble opinion, I’d sooner call someone than email them
  5. IMHO, I’d just as soon make a telephone call

A pesar de los 👆 distintos patrones verbales empleados 👆, el mensaje en todas las frases ES IDÉNTICO: “si tengo que elegir entre llamar por teléfono y/o mandar un email, prefiero/preferiría hacer la llamada (a/antes que …).

No doubt, language flexibility is a valuable asset, isn’t it?

Ahora bien, en la siguiente frase el sentido es radicalmente distinto 👀:

  • If I get asked, I’d just as soon make a phone call as send an email (=si me preguntan, tanto me da hacer una llamada como mandar un email)

As you can see, for this sort of sentence transformation drills, you’d better have an eye for detail.

Until next post,

Jéssica 😘