Basic+ Word of the Day: rather

rather (adverb) LISTEN

"Would you rather sit at the front, the middle, or back?"

If you would rather do something, it means that you prefer it.

  • Would you rather sit at the front, the middle or the back?

We use rather than to mean ‘instead of’ when we choose something because we prefer it.

  • I decided to go to work early rather than leave late.

We can use rather to mean ‘a lot, but not completely.’

  • It’s rather dark in here.

We can also use it when we want to say that something is really true.

  • That’s rather a lot of meat for one person! (=This really is a lot of meat!)

Common uses

If someone has to do something difficult or boring, we sometimes say to them, “Rather you than me!” When we say this, it means that we are happy that we don’t have to do that thing. For example: “I have to cook a meal for 20 people this weekend.” “Rather you than me!”

In pop culture

Do you know the song “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit? The song is about being with the person that you love. The singer is happiest when she is with that person. Listen for these words: “When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be.”

There are other meanings of rather.

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