Posts Tagged ‘rather’

Using rather

October 9th, 2013 in English Grammar

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.

Rather than

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.

Would rather

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.