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Autor:  PPAULO
E-mail:  não-disponível
Data:  23/SET/2013 9:40 PM
Assunto:  ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento
I believe it's a bit different here. My question was regarding the structure: "EU PREFERI NÃO DIZER NADA"

Here, it seems like, "I'd rather you said nothing" = eu preferiria que vc nao tivesse dito nada...? Like, if I could choose, that's my stance..

Now I got your point. It seems like you are right from the beggining, "preferir" as a general preference is different of "preferir" in the sense of "escolher" (preferiu ficar quieto- escolher ficar quieto,  preferiu ficar calado - escolheu na hora ficar calado, ao invés de falar.)  and so on.

First thing is, this construction has a present or future meaning not past.  As per definition found in this site:

Please also note that, although we use a past tense verb, this construction always has a present or future meaning, not past. 

So, ele preferiu ''então" goes against the grain. Would be he preffered/chose not say anything then   or   he preffered/chose not say a thing then.

is also followed by a past tense when we want to involve other people in the action, even though it has a present or future meaning.

(altough the definition above doesn´t exclude the past meaning, it leave the question open to interpretation with "even tough".  Well, at least my interpretation.

Now, this one.  This way, you won´t say I chose only the ones that agree with me.
It comes with an interesting example which, in my opinion could be translated into
a past sense/meaning.

"I'd rather not eat at the moment."

Note that it was the last thread and it got somehow open to interpretation.
If it can be this way (I am not saying it is...), then

I´d rather not say anything at the moment/then.

Well, for the time being, I would be a bit cautious about using it, not being sure.

Finally, I hit the Bab.la and look what I got:

The only one hit with "would rather'' was this one.  And it came along with a THAN:

Entretanto, no ano passado, duas mil pessoas perderam inutilmente, desnecessariamente, a vida, porque a Comissão preferiu falar a agir.

Meanwhile, two thousand people in the last year have needlessly, unnecessarily lost their lives because the Commission would rather talk than act.

Don´t know if people avoid the structure because they are trepidant of making mistakes, tough.

Hence, on the safe side, for "Eu preferi não dizer nada." would be translated into
I preffered/chose...  would be my choice of words here.

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Índice de mensagens

 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  Jazz  20/SET/2013, 10:05 PM
ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  PPAULO  21/SET/2013, 2:37 AM
ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  Jazz  22/SET/2013, 10:25 PM
 ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  PPAULO  23/SET/2013, 9:40 PM
ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  Thomas - USA  23/SET/2013, 9:29 PM
ele preferiu não dizer nada naquele momento  –  PPAULO  23/SET/2013, 9:42 PM

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