Some common conversational structures

I’d rather + (verb)

This structure is used to suggest that you would like to do one thing more than another. In informal speech I would is pronounced as I’d.

  • ‘Would you like something to drink?’ ‘I’d rather have something to eat.’
  • I’d rather stay here than go home.
  • I’d rather write than phone.
  • I’d rather do it myself.
  • I’d rather exercise than lie in the bed all day.
  • I’d rather consult a doctor than live in fear.

I can’t help + (verb-ing)

If you say that you can’t help doing something, you mean that you can’t stop yourself from doing it.

  • I can’t help worrying about her.
  • I can’t help thinking about her.
  • I can’t help loving you.
  • I couldn’t help eating those cookies.
  • I can’t help working all the time.
  • I can’t help remembering the things he did to me.
  • I can’t help eating so much.

I am / was busy + (verb-ing)

When you are busy you have much to do. The structure I was busy is followed by an –ing form. It is used to talk about activities that keep you occupied.

  • I’m busy working.
  • She’s busy getting ready for work.
  • She’s busy cooking dinner.
  • I’m busy cleaning the house.
  • She’s busy studying for the test.

Instead of an –ing form, we can use with + noun after I’m busy.

  • I’m busy with my studies.
  • She’s busy with her kids.
  • I’m busy with work.