English as a Second Language/"rather"


Dear Amy,
Thanks for your previous help.
Here, "rather" confuses me. I know it has several different meanings. What do you think it does mean?
Many many thanks


"To homological accounts, Lyotard contrasts ‘paralogical’ ones where a variety of often incommensurate approaches are simultaneously taken to different subject matters not assumed to be parts of a unified whole, rather in the way that inventors pragmatically approach specific challenges without trying to unify all the challenges or derive their inventive ideas from universal scientific theories".


I have identified four types o rather in a sentence. Of which type, if any, do you think this mentioned "rather" is?

1. I would rather have tea
2. He became their leader or, rather,their idol
3. He is not a help, rather a hindrance
4. I am rather happy with his work


I think "rather" is used to indicate the author's preference for a particular approach in this context. I'd say it's synonym with "preferably".

I am not sure what you mean by the four types of "rather" in a sentence.

On a side note, that's some heavy duty text you're reading.

I hope this helps.



English as a Second Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.