Rather means ‘to a fairly large degree’.
- She is rather a pretty woman.
- I guess I have been rather stupid.
Rather can be used in the following ways:
As an adverb
When used as an adverb rather goes before an adjective or another adverb.
- I was rather disappointed. (Here rather modifies the adjective disappointed.)
- She looked rather surprised.
- She was injured rather badly. (Here rather modifies the adverb badly.)
Rather can also modify a verb.
- She rather enjoys playing with her kids.
- We were rather hoping it would stop raining.
Rather can also mean ‘Yes’.
- ‘Would you like something to drink?’ ‘Rather!’
Rather can also be used as a pre-determiner. In this case it modifies nouns. It is followed by the article a/an.
She is rather a stupid.
If the noun is followed by an adjective, the article can go either before or after rather.
- That was rather a brilliant idea. OR That was a rather brilliant idea.
The conjunction phrase rather than shows preference. It is normally used in parallel structures: for example with two adjectives, adverbs, nouns, infinitives etc.
- It is always better to start early rather than (to) leave everything to the last moment.
- I think I should write rather than phone.
When the main clause has a to-infinitive, rather than is usually followed by an infinitive without to. An –ing form is also possible.
- I decided to walk rather than drive /driving.
The expression ‘would rather’ means ‘would prefer to’. It is followed by an infinitive without to.
- I would rather get some rest. (= I would like to get some rest.)
- She would rather quit.