When we are comparing using the verb preferir, the second element of the comparison is either introduced by the preposition "a" or by "que" depending on what comes next.
We use "a" when what comes next is either a noun, a noun phrase or a clause introduced by que.
Look at these examples:
If we are expressing a preference between two people using their names, the first personal "a" can be dropped and we only use the second:
It is incorrect to use "que" in any of the examples above to introduce the second element of the preference.
All these are incorrect:
- Prefiero mil veces los perros que los gatos.
- Prefiero que me digas la cruel verdad que que me digas una mentira piadosa.
- Prefiero Pedro que Nicolás.
When we use infinitives in comparisons, then either "a" or "que" can be used. For example:
However when we have a comparison using infinitives but we omit the verb in the second element, and this is followed by a preposition, we must use "que", not "a".
So for example, this sentence:
Note that it's also very common to use "antes que" with this same meaning, both with the infinitive and a preposition or when the infinitive is omitted. For example:
If we are using adverbs in the comparison, "que" is generally used. It sounds more natural than using "a":
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