Can I use o instead of a in some cases? E.g. Prefieres agua o té. Prefieres ir a la playa o quedarte en casa?
Yes, you can use "o" although it would be a slightly different sentence:
You can say:
¿Prefieres agua o té?
Do you prefer water or tea?
This is as if we omitted the verb in the second part:
Do you prefer water or [do you prefer] tea?
Using "a" as in the lesson is the same as if you said in English:
Do you prefer this to that?
Do you prefer water to tea?
Prefieres agua a té?
This reflects more choosing one thing over another.
But both structures are pretty much meaning the same.
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