'Prefer' vs 'Perfer': Which is Correct?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 26, 2023

Do you need to know which is correct, 'prefer' vs. 'perfer?' Many people get confused about the spelling and pronunciation of this word. 

Don't worry, though. I will explain which is correct and give you definitions, example sentences, and other details to help you remember the correct spelling. 

Before we start, are you in a hurry? 

If so, here is the short answer: 

  • 'Prefer' is the correct spelling of the verb that means to favor one option over one or more alternatives. 
  • 'Perfer' is a common misspelling of 'prefer,' the verb form of the noun preference. 

Now that you know the answer, you can go. But I would 'prefer' that you stay until the end of this post because there is more to learn!

Which is Correct, 'Prefer' vs. 'Perfer?'

Between 'prefer' vs. 'perfer,' there is only one grammatically correct word, 'prefer.' 'Prefer' is a  verb that means to favor or love something better than other available options. 'Perfer' is never correct. 

This term consists of a base fer and a prefix, pre-. Pre- is a prefix that means before or in front, but it is not the only prefix added to the root fer

Other terms with the same root include: 

  • Confer
  • Defer
  • Differ
  • Infer
  • Offer
  • Suffer
  • Coffer

The fer root means to carry. So, 'prefer' roughly translates to carry in front. 

It is also the verb form of the noun' preference,' which is the state of being chosen or the act of preferring. The suffix -ence means an occurrence of an act. 

How Do You Use 'Prefer?' 

Now that you know the correct spelling, here is how you use it: 

  • Use 'prefer' when you are telling someone which option you favor. 

For example, you could say: 

Between Mexican and Indian food, I prefer Mexican cuisine. 

  • Use 'prefer' to tell someone your preferences. 

For example, you could say: 

I prefer a light dinner to something heavy. When I overeat, I feel sluggish and tired.

  • Use 'prefer' to tell someone you would rather have something else. 

For example, if someone asked if you wanted to go out, you could say: 

I prefer to stay in tonight. We can cook dinner and watch a movie. 

  • Use 'prefer' when asking someone their top choice.

For example, you could say:

Do you prefer white or violet flowers?

Definition of 'Prefer': What Does 'Prefer' Mean? 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term means:

  • To advance or promote to a position or rank

It can also mean:

  • To choose one's favorite
  • To like something best
  • To give favor to one over others
  • To promote one option over others for consideration

Synonyms of 'Prefer'

Knowing the synonyms of a word can help you improve as a writer. When you use synonyms instead of repeating the same term, it helps to keep your writing from becoming monotonous and repetitive.

So, here are the words you can use interchangeably with 'prefer':

  • Like
  • Adore
  • Favor
  • Choose
  • Pick
  • Promote
  • Bias
  • Lean toward
  • Prejudice
  • Value
  • Crave
  • Admire
  • Treasure
  • Revel
  • Select
  • Want
  • Handpick
  • Relish
  • Designate
  • Name
  • Idealize
  • Covet
  • Desire
  • Wish

Antonyms of 'Prefer'

In addition to knowing synonyms, knowing the antonyms of a word is also helpful, especially if the definition is confusing.

So, here are the terms opposite of 'prefer.'

  • Shun
  • Dislike
  • Refuse
  • Send away
  • Loathe
  • Abhor
  • Discard
  • Brush aside
  • Decline
  • Reject
  • Hate
  • Detest

Pronunciation of 'Prefer'

Learning proper pronunciation helps English speakers and writers become more confident. When you are satisfied that you know how to say a word, you are more likely to use it. 

So, here is a pronunciation guide: 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'prefer': 


The pronunciation of this term is similar to its spelling. However, many people say 'perfer,' which only adds to confusion over the spelling.

Sample Sentences Using 'Prefer' 

Finally, look at the sample sentences below to learn different ways to use 'prefer.'

  • I would prefer you not do that right now. I have a headache, and that game is really loud. 
  • We can go to a tropical location on our next vacation if you prefer.  
  • Which color do you prefer, red or yellow? 
  • There are three shirts on the bed. Will you show me which you prefer?
  • Would you prefer to live in an apartment in the city or a house with a big yard in the suburbs?
  • Where would you prefer to go this summer? We could get a beach house or rent a cabin on the lake.  
  • I would prefer you to stay off your phone while we are eating dinner, but if you have to call, please make it quick. 
  • I would prefer you not make negative comments all the time. I don't mind listening to you when you have a bad day, but I get tired of hearing constant complaining. 
  • I have five stories for you to review. When you finish reading them, please tell me which you prefer.
  • I wish I could tell you which I prefer. However, I do not know. I like them both. So, picking a favorite is challenging.
  • We have been eating at that restaurant for years. However, I prefer the new location. It is a nicer atmosphere, and the food is every bit as good as the original.
  • When we go to the pub down the street, I prefer to sit on the patio because it is always chilly inside.

Final Advice on Which is Correct 'Prefer' vs. 'Perfer' 

You should know which is correct between 'prefer' vs. 'perfer.' But, just to be sure, here is a quick recap of what you learned: 

  • 'Prefer' is the correct spelling of the verb form of the noun preference.
  • 'Prefer' means to like one option better than another. 
  • 'Perfer' is a common misspelling of the grammatically correct term 'prefer.' 

Remember the term is a form of the word 'preference,' and you should remember how to spell it. However, if you are stuck on which is correct, you can always return to this page to review this lesson. 

You can also check out the other confusing word posts here to learn about other commonly misused, misspelled, and mispronounced words.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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