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  1. #1
    I'm still learning is offline Junior Member
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    Default Can "rather" be used as verb?

    I have noticed people use "rather" as a verb more often than as an adverb. But when I look into the dictionaries, it's NEVER been used as a verb. How come then many people use that as a verb? When I try to correct my friends, I'm told I'm not keeping up with the changes.. What changes??

    For example:


    • I rather my opponents don't find out.
    • I rather my fans not read this.
    • I'd rather my kid die than live in poverty.

    I mean why not just say:

    I rather "prefer" my fans not....

    or

    I'd rather "let" my kid....

    Is it formal & correct to use rather as a verb? Or is it just informal like "wanna" instead of "want to"?

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    It's not "I rather", it's "I'd rather". This is a contraction of "I would rather", meaning "I would prefer to"

  3. #3
    Hedwig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Not a teacher

    As to the rest of your question, I believe this expression takes a verb in the past. So:

    I'd rather my opponents don't didn't find out.
    I'd rather my fans did not read this.
    I'd rather my kid died than live in poverty.

    As to register, I think it's neutral, i.e. neither too formal nor too informal, but used preferably in colloquial style.

    Let's see if a native speaker chips in and checks on the above.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    As to the rest of your question, I believe this expression takes a verb in the past. So:

    I'd rather my opponents don't didn't find out.
    I'd rather my fans did not read this.
    I'd rather my kid died than live in poverty.
    My first reaction was to agree with you, but then I began to wonder. The past is correct, in my opinion, and is probably what I'd use, but COCA gives the following figures for I'd/would rather she/he...

    Present simple: 1
    Present, subjunctive: 9
    Past simple: 6
    Past subjunctive (he were): 1
    Past perfect: 4
    would: 3

  5. #5
    Hedwig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    And what about my take on register, 5jj?

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    And what about my take on register, 5jj?
    ]I think you are a little too hard on the expression. I think it is used from informal coversation to semi-formal writing.

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    Not a teacher

    As to the rest of your question, I believe this expression takes a verb in the past. So:

    I'd rather my opponents don't didn't find out.
    I'd rather my fans did not read this.
    I'd rather my kid died than live in poverty.

    As to register, I think it's neutral, i.e. neither too formal nor too informal, but used preferably in colloquial style.

    Let's see if a native speaker chips in and checks on the above.
    I think I agree with all of this. Except that it is rather informal when pronounced in a rushed manner.

    Another note: it's a conditional, which is why the past is used in the complementary clause.

    Rather is an adverb here, the verb being simply "would" which is actually an ancient conditional form of "will" meaning "want", without being an auxiliary in this case.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    I am reminded of the American expression, "If I had my druthers, ...", meaning something like, "If I had the the chance to choose what I would rather have/see/be/etc "

  9. #9
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I am reminded of the American expression, "If I had my druthers, ...", meaning something like, "If I had the the chance to choose what I would rather have/see/be/etc "
    I was thinking of that too. Great minds...

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Can "rather" be used as verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It's not "I rather", it's "I'd rather". This is a contraction of "I would rather", meaning "I would prefer to"


    However, I have met (and strongly disliked) 'rather' as standing for 'prefer': 'Of the two, I rathered the first one' This usage was strongly disapproved of at my primary school - but it must have been there for the teachers to disapprove of it.

    b

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