Would you rather questions... Please tell me if my sentences are right or wrong

I have a question about 'Would you rather…questions. @Anglophile @Torsten
Last night I was watching Maleficent and I heard the following sentence:

  • Would you rather I let them beat you to death? ( present tense clearly, but it could also be used as a past tense I mean let-let-let/ beat-beat-beaten)

Also, is a construction with the the past perfect possible. I think it’s possible, but what do you say?

  • e.g.: Would you rather I had let them beat you to death?

I’m sorry if my questions are so poorly formulated.



I think it is always used to indicate your preference at the time of talking (present) about something you might want to do.
To me, therefore, other tenses do not seem to be appropriate.
I’d rather look upon @Torsten and @Alan for their comments than give you my non-categorical answer.


Thank you Anglophile,

I think I was somewhat misled by what they write in the Cambridge dictionary online:

  • I’d rather you hadn’t rung me at work (past perfect to talk about the past)
  • Would you rather I wasn’t honest with you? (past to talk about the present or future)

I would rather you locked your door at night. ‘Locked’ in that sentence is past subjunctive. In other words it suggests - I wish you would lock your door.

I would rather you had locked - again this is subjunctive but in this sentence the person addressed clearly didn’t lock the door. It suggests - I wish you had locked the door


Thank you for your reply Alan.