Chinese Grammar: Expressing “would rather” with 宁可
Nothing better than having to choose between Slices of your two favorite cakes, right? But what happens if Yocha has made two of your least favorite cakes? What happens when you can only choose between two unpleasant options that are each bad on their own?
There's a special word for that in Mandarin Chinese. A unique word to help you reluctantly say... "Well, I’d rather do this than that other one”. In Chinese, that word is 宁可.
Basic use of 宁可
Generally, you can use 宁可 alone to express “would rather”.
Subject + 宁可 + Preferable option
Use 宁可 followed by the less unfavorable option (i.e. the one you choose), and then tack on 也 不 to designate the worst choice, the one you don’t want to choose at all. This 宁可...也 不 is the perfect structure to be extreme and show your (dis)taste in Chinese.
This is a pattern you'll want to use when you desire to do something and are willing to pay a certain price for it.
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