Preferir Verb Conjugation in Spanish

If you are learning Spanish, the verb preferir is one you should learn early because it is really useful in many situations. First of all, it translates to "to prefer" in English and will help you talk about things you might or might not want to do, as well as likes and dislikes in general.

For instance:

Yo prefiero las camisas negras. -- I prefer black shirts. (like, preference)

Ella prefiere venir los lunes. -- She prefers coming on Mondays. (action)

This transitive verb is also used to talk about people’s preferences regarding certain activities or actions, and it commonly translates to ‘’would rather’’ in English.

Yo preferiría no salir hoy. -- I’d rather not go out today.

Yo preferiría quedarme en hotel que alquilar un apartamento. -- I’d rather stay in a hotel than rent an apartment.

Preferir is a normal regular ir-ending verb. Here are the conjugations for preferir in several tenses.

Advertisement

Present

Yo

prefiero

Nosotros (as)

preferimos

prefieres

Vosotros (as)

preferís

Él/Ella/Ud.

prefiere

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

prefieren

Example sentence:

Ellos prefieren la música pop. -- They prefer pop music.

Imperfect

Yo

prefería

Nosotros (as)

preferíamos

preferías

Vosotros (as)

preferíais

Él/Ella/Ud.

prefería

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

preferían

Example sentence:

Mi hermana prefería quedarse en casa todo el fin de semana cuando era pequeña -- My sister used to prefer to stay home all weekend long when she was a little girl.

Preterite

Yo

preferí

Nosotros

preferimos

preferiste

Vosotros (a)

preferisteis

Él/Ella/Ud.

prefirió

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

prefirieron

Example sentence:

Ella prefirió quedarse acá. -- She preferred to stay here.

Future

Yo

preferiré

Nosotros

preferiremos

preferirás

Vosotros (a)

preferiréis

Él/Ella/Ud.

preferirá

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

preferirán

Example sentence:

Después de un tiempo, tú preferirás buscar otro trabajo. -- After a while, you will prefer to look for another job.

Conditional

Yo

preferiría

Nosotros (as)

preferiríamos

preferirías

Vosotros (as)

preferiríais

Él/Ella/Ud.

preferiría

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

preferirían

Example sentences:

Yo creo que mi hermana preferiría dormir un poco más. -- I think my sister would prefer to sleep some more.

Note that the conjugations for the first person plural (nosotros-we) in both the present and preterite tenses are exactly the same. Useful tip, isn’t it? The grammar rules for preferir are easy enough if you remember how regular verbs are conjugated in Spanish. While this seems very simple, there are some additional uses of preferir.
La prefiero a ella / I prefer her. See that?

Advertisement

Using Preferir With Object Pronouns

As many other verbs in Spanish, preferir can be used with some pronombres personales átonos or object pronouns, which are usually found attached to verbs. This can be difficult to understand at first, but following chart clearly outlines how to use them:

2nd person

te (you)

os (Peninsular Spanish)

2nd person

se (impersonal)

se

3rd person

lo, la, le, se (him, her, it, impersonal)

los, las, les, se (them, impersonal)

For example:

¿Viste ese cuaderno azul? Sí, es hermoso, pero creo que lo prefiero rojo. -- Did you see that blue notebook? Yes, I did. It’s beautiful, but I think I prefer it to be red.

Similarly, preferir can be tricky if used with the prepositions ‘‘a’’ or ‘‘que’’. Do not feel bad if you do not get it right in the first time around, even native speakers find this confusing. Here is how you can avoid confusion:

  1. When used to compare two nouns, you will have to use “a.”
    For instance: Prefiero los vegetales a la carne. -- I prefer vegetables over meat.
  2. When used to compare two nouns with an adjective, you can use either “a”or “que.”
    For instance: Prefiero un doctor amable que sabio. /Prefiero un doctor amable a uno sabio. -- I prefer a kind doctor over a wise one.

Putting Perferir to Use

Preferir is a great way to say that you like something or that you choose something else, make comparisons, and talk about things you want to do. Luckily, these rules and conjugation forms will help you use it properly when you need to pick out that blue… or maybe red… sweater?