How Do You Say “Prefer To Do” In French?

Are you interested in learning French? Perhaps you have already started and are looking to expand your vocabulary. Whatever your reason for exploring the French language, you may be wondering how to express your preferences. In this article, we will explore the translation of “prefer to do” in French, as well as provide some useful examples to help you incorporate this phrase into your conversations.

Before we dive into the specifics of the phrase “prefer to do,” let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the French language. French is spoken by over 220 million people worldwide and is an official language in 29 countries. It is a Romance language, which means it evolved from Latin and shares many similarities with other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Now, let’s get back to our main topic: how to say “prefer to do” in French. The phrase you are looking for is “préférer faire.” This translates directly to “prefer to do” in English.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “Prefer To Do”?

Learning to properly pronounce French words can be a daunting task for anyone who is not a native speaker. However, with a little practice and guidance, it is possible to master the pronunciation of even the most complex French words.

The French word for “prefer to do” is “préférer faire.” Here is a phonetic breakdown of the word:

French Word Phonetic Spelling
Préférer pray-fay-ré
Faire fair

Now that you know the phonetic spelling of the word, here are some tips for proper pronunciation:

1. Pay Attention To Vowel Sounds

French vowel sounds can be challenging for English speakers, but they are essential for proper pronunciation. In the word “préférer,” pay close attention to the “é” sound, which is pronounced like “ay.”

2. Emphasize The Final Syllable

In French, the final syllable of a word is often emphasized. This is especially true for “faire” in the phrase “préférer faire.” Make sure to give the final syllable of “faire” a little extra emphasis when pronouncing the word.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

As with any new language skill, practice is key to mastering French pronunciation. Take the time to practice saying “préférer faire” out loud, and try to incorporate it into your everyday conversations. With time and practice, you’ll be pronouncing French words like a native speaker.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

Grammar is an essential aspect of any language, and French is no exception. When using the French word for “prefer to do,” it is crucial to understand its proper grammatical use to communicate effectively in the language.

Placement Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do” In Sentences

In French, the word for “prefer to do” is “préférer faire.” It is essential to know where to place this word in a sentence to convey the intended meaning accurately. The general rule is to place “préférer faire” after the subject and before the infinitive verb.

For example:

  • Je préfère manger des fruits. (I prefer to eat fruits.)
  • Elle préfère écouter de la musique. (She prefers to listen to music.)

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

In French, the verb “préférer” is a regular -er verb. Therefore, it follows the same conjugation pattern as other -er verbs. Here is an example of the present tense conjugation:

Subject Pronoun Préférer Conjugation
Je préfère
Tu préfères
Il/Elle/On préfère
Nous préférons
Vous préférez
Ils/Elles préfèrent

It is essential to use the correct tense of “préférer” depending on the context of the sentence. For example:

  • Je préfère le café au thé. (I prefer coffee to tea.)
  • Nous avons préféré visiter le musée. (We preferred to visit the museum.)

Agreement With Gender And Number

In French, nouns and adjectives have gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the verb “préférer” agrees with the subject’s gender and number.

For example:

  • J’aime les chats, mais mon frère préfère les chiens. (I like cats, but my brother prefers dogs.)
  • Elles préfèrent les films d’horreur. (They prefer horror movies.)

Common Exceptions

Like any language, French has exceptions to its grammar rules. One common exception when using “préférer” is when it is used with a noun instead of an infinitive verb. In this case, “préférer” is followed by “à” and not “de.”

For example:

  • J’aime les voitures, mais je préfère à pied. (I like cars, but I prefer to walk.)
  • Elle préfère le chocolat à la vanille. (She prefers chocolate to vanilla.)

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

When learning a new language, it’s important to understand common phrases and how they are used in everyday conversation. In French, the word for “prefer to do” is “préférer faire.” Let’s explore some examples of how this phrase is used in French.


  • “Je préfère faire du sport le matin.” (I prefer to exercise in the morning.)
  • “Elle préfère manger des légumes plutôt que de la viande.” (She prefers to eat vegetables rather than meat.)
  • “Nous préférons voyager en train.” (We prefer to travel by train.)

As you can see, “préférer faire” is used in a similar way to the English phrase “prefer to do.” It is often followed by an infinitive verb to indicate what the speaker prefers to do.

Example Dialogue:

French English Translation
“Qu’est-ce que tu préfères faire le week-end?” “What do you prefer to do on the weekends?”
“Je préfère faire du shopping et aller au cinéma.” “I prefer to go shopping and to the movies.”
“Et toi, qu’est-ce que tu préfères?” “And you, what do you prefer?”
“Je préfère faire du sport et passer du temps avec ma famille.” “I prefer to exercise and spend time with my family.”

Here, we can see “préférer faire” being used in a conversation between two people discussing their weekend plans. This type of dialogue is a great way to practice using new vocabulary and grammar structures in context.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

Understanding the various contexts in which the French word for “prefer to do” is used is crucial to mastering the language. Here, we will explore the formal and informal usage of the word, as well as other contexts such as slang, idiomatic expressions, and cultural/historical uses.

Formal Usage

In formal settings, it is important to use the correct form of the verb “prefer to do,” which is “préférer faire” in French. This form is used in situations such as business meetings, academic settings, and official documents. For example:

  • “Je préfère faire une présentation plutôt qu’une réunion.” (I prefer to give a presentation rather than a meeting.)
  • “Le président préfère que nous nous réunissions demain matin.” (The president prefers that we meet tomorrow morning.)

Informal Usage

Informal situations call for a more casual form of the verb “prefer to do,” which is “aimer mieux faire” in French. This form is used in everyday conversations with friends, family, and peers. For example:

  • “J’aime mieux faire du sport que de regarder la télé.” (I prefer to do sports than to watch TV.)
  • “Tu aimes mieux aller au cinéma ou au restaurant?” (Do you prefer to go to the cinema or to a restaurant?)

Other Contexts

French also has many idiomatic expressions and slang terms that use the word for “prefer to do.” For example, “préférer la vie de château” means to prefer a life of luxury, while “préférer la peste à la guerre” means to prefer the lesser of two evils. Additionally, the historical and cultural context of France can also influence the usage of the word. For instance, during the French Revolution, the phrase “préférer la mort à l’esclavage” (prefer death to slavery) became a popular slogan among revolutionaries.

Popular Cultural Usage

One popular cultural usage of the French word for “prefer to do” can be found in the classic novel “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert. The protagonist, Emma Bovary, frequently uses the phrase “je préfère” to express her dissatisfaction with her mundane life and her desire for something more.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

Just like any other language, French also has regional variations. The French word for “prefer to do” is no exception. Depending on the country or region where French is spoken, there may be variations in the usage and pronunciation of the word.

Usage Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do” In Different French-speaking Countries

The French language is spoken in many countries around the world. Each of these countries has its own unique culture and traditions, which can influence the usage of the French language.

In France, the word “préférer” is the most commonly used verb to express the idea of “prefer to do.” However, in Canada, the word “aimer mieux” is more commonly used. In Belgium, the word “préférer” is also used, but with a slightly different meaning. In Switzerland, the word “privilégier” is sometimes used instead of “préférer.”

It is important to note that while these variations exist, they do not necessarily cause confusion among French speakers from different countries. Most French speakers are able to understand and communicate with each other regardless of the regional variations.

Regional Pronunciations Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

In addition to variations in usage, there are also regional variations in the pronunciation of the French word for “prefer to do.” For example, in France, the “é” in “préférer” is pronounced with a closed mouth, while in Canada, it is pronounced with an open mouth.

Below is a table that summarizes the different pronunciations of the word “préférer” in different French-speaking countries:

Country Pronunciation of “Préférer”
France prey-fay-ray
Canada prey-fair-ay
Belgium prey-fay-rer
Switzerland pree-vee-lay-zhee-ay

Despite these regional variations, it is important to remember that the French language is still one language, and communication is still possible between speakers from different regions.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “Prefer To Do” In Speaking & Writing

While the French word for “prefer to do,” préférer, is commonly used to express a preference for one thing over another, it can also have other meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Understanding these different uses is essential for effective communication in French.

Distinguishing Between Different Uses Of Préférer

One of the most common alternative uses of préférer is to express a desire or intention to do something. In this context, it is often followed by the infinitive form of the verb that describes the action desired. For example:

  • Je préfère aller au cinéma ce soir. (I would rather go to the cinema tonight.)
  • Nous préférons prendre le train. (We would rather take the train.)

Another use of préférer is to express a comparison between two things. In this case, it is often followed by the preposition à and the thing to which the comparison is being made. For example:

  • Je préfère le vin rouge au vin blanc. (I prefer red wine to white wine.)
  • Elle préfère le thé à la caféine. (She prefers tea to caffeine.)

Finally, préférer can also be used to express a recommendation or suggestion, with the implication that the thing being recommended or suggested is the best option. For example:

  • Je te préfère d’aller voir un médecin. (I recommend that you go see a doctor.)
  • Nous préférons que vous ne fumiez pas dans la maison. (We would prefer that you not smoke in the house.)

By understanding the different ways in which préférer can be used, French speakers can communicate their preferences, desires, and recommendations more effectively and accurately.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

Synonyms And Related Terms

When it comes to expressing a preference for a particular action or activity, the French language offers a variety of words and phrases that can be used interchangeably with “préférer faire.” Some of the most common synonyms and related terms include:

  • “Aimer mieux faire” – This phrase literally translates to “to like better to do,” and is often used in the same context as “préférer faire.”
  • “Privilégier” – This verb means “to give preference to” and can be used to express a stronger preference than “préférer faire.”
  • “Opter pour” – This phrase means “to opt for” and is often used when making a choice between two or more options.
  • “Choisir de faire” – This phrase means “to choose to do” and can be used when expressing a preference for a particular action or activity.

While these words and phrases are similar in meaning to “préférer faire,” they may be used in slightly different contexts or with different connotations. For example, “privilégier” may suggest a more deliberate or conscious choice than “préférer faire,” while “opter pour” may be used when there is a clear decision to be made between two or more options.


Of course, when discussing preferences, it’s important to consider the opposite – words or phrases that express a lack of preference or a dislike for a particular action or activity. Some common antonyms of “préférer faire” include:

  • “Détester faire” – This phrase means “to hate doing” and is often used to express a strong dislike for a particular activity.
  • “Ne pas aimer faire” – This phrase simply means “to not like doing” and can be used to express a mild dislike or lack of preference for a particular activity.
  • “Éviter de faire” – This phrase means “to avoid doing” and can be used when there is a strong aversion to a particular activity or when there are negative consequences associated with it.

While these words and phrases are the direct antonyms of “préférer faire,” there are many other ways to express a lack of preference or dislike for a particular activity in French.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “Prefer To Do”

When learning a new language, it’s common to make mistakes. French is no exception, and one of the most commonly misused words is “préférer,” which means “to prefer.” In this section, we’ll introduce some common errors made by non-native speakers when using this word, and provide tips to avoid them.

Common Mistakes

Here are some of the most common mistakes made when using “préférer”:

  • Using the wrong preposition: Many non-native speakers mistakenly use “à” instead of “de” after “préférer.” For example, they might say “Je préfère à jouer du piano” instead of “Je préfère jouer du piano.” The correct preposition to use after “préférer” is “de.”
  • Using the wrong form of the verb: The correct form of “préférer” depends on the subject of the sentence. For example, “Je préfère” is correct for “I prefer,” while “Tu préfères” is correct for “You prefer.” Non-native speakers often use the wrong form of the verb, resulting in incorrect sentences.
  • Not using the infinitive: In French, the verb that follows “préférer” should be in the infinitive form. For example, “Je préfère jouer du piano” is correct, while “Je préfère joue du piano” is incorrect.
  • Using the verb “aimer” instead of “préférer”: While “aimer” and “préférer” both mean “to like,” they are used differently in French. “Aimer” is used to express a general liking for something, while “préférer” is used to express a preference for one thing over another. Non-native speakers often use “aimer” instead of “préférer.”

Tips To Avoid Mistakes

Here are some tips to help you avoid making mistakes when using “préférer”:

  1. Practice using the correct preposition: Remember to use “de” after “préférer,” and not “à.”
  2. Learn the correct form of the verb: Memorize the correct form of “préférer” for each subject pronoun, and practice using them in sentences.
  3. Use the infinitive form: Always use the infinitive form of the verb that follows “préférer.”
  4. Understand the difference between “aimer” and “préférer”: Make sure you understand the difference between these two verbs, and use them correctly in sentences.


In conclusion, we have explored the various ways to express the concept of “prefer to do” in French. We have learned that there are multiple ways to convey this idea, depending on the context and the level of formality required. The most common expressions include “préférer faire,” “aimer mieux faire,” and “avoir une préférence pour.”

Additionally, we have discussed some nuances and exceptions that learners should be aware of, such as the use of the subjunctive mood and the difference between “préférer” and “préférer que.”

Overall, mastering the use of the French word for “prefer to do” can greatly enhance your ability to express your preferences and opinions in conversations with French speakers. Therefore, we encourage you to practice these expressions and incorporate them into your daily interactions.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.