How to Answer Do you prefer this over that?

IELTS speaking is very popular for asking you questions where you have to compare between your choice and preference. Although there is no such rule that best describes the way of answering IELTS questions, it is always better for you to know some language tips on how to answer do you prefer this over that?

When IELTS examiner asks you such question they really have no interest on the content of your answer but construct. They just want to know weather you can use right grammatical structure.

First let’s see some questions under this category

» Do you prefer cycling over riding bike?
» Do you prefer writing letters or sending emails?
» Do you prefer talking on the phone or chatting online?
» Do you prefer to travel by bike or on foot?

Remember this formula

When the examiner asks you Do you prefer X to Y? type questions, you must:

  1. State which one you prefer.
  2. Compare the two things the examiner mentions.
  3. Give reasons and examples to explain why.

Step: 1

How to Answer Do you prefer this over that?

Obviously, the first thing you need to tell the examiner for this type of question is whether you prefer X or Y. Prefer can be followed by either verb-ing or to verb.

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Prefer + verb-ing + to/rather than + verb-ing
I prefer cycling to taking the bus.
I prefer eating to cooking.
I prefer baking cakes at home rather than buying them in shops.
I prefer reading a newspaper rather than watching TV.


Prefer + to verb + rather than + verb
I prefer to cycle rather than take the bus.
I prefer to eat rather than cook,
I prefer to bake cakes at home rather than buy them in shops.
I prefer to read a newspaper rather than watch TV.
Both these forms are correct, and mean exactly the same.

Step: 2

How to Answer Do you prefer this over that?

After you have answered which is your preference, you need to make a comparison between these things. Use adjectives to make caparison. Let’s see some examples

Cycling is so much more convenient than(adj) taking the bus if you’re not travelling
too for.

You may use one of the following comparative structures:

X + be + comparative + than +
Watching TV is more interesting than listening to the radio.
Cars are prettier than buses,
X+ be + not as +adjective + as + Y
Listening to the radio is not as interesting as watching TV.
Buses are not as pretty as cars.

Step: 3

How to answer do you prefer this over that?

Now as your final step extend your answer with two or three reasons for your choice. Start your answer by using some discourse markers. Let’s see this example:

Actually(discourse marker), it’s often faster to go by bike because you don’t get Stuck in traffic jams. Cycling is also better for my health than all other means of transport, including buses.[/mepr-show]

To conclude how to answer do you prefer this over that:-

Step 1: Choose one thing from the asked two
Step 2: Give reason on why is it so for you by using comparative adjectives
Step 3: Extend your answer by giving reasons and examples

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