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    #1

    rather

    Dear teachers,

    I find "rather" difficult to understand. In Cambridge Dictionary Online there are two definitions:
    1. quite; to a slight degree
    It's rather cold today, isn't it?
    2. very; to a large degree
    I've got rather a lot of work to do at the moment.

    Then how to decide a meaning? I mean I can say "It's rather cold today" means "It's very cold today". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang

  1. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: rather

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I find "rather" difficult to understand. In Cambridge Dictionary Online there are two definitions:
    1. quite; to a slight degree
    It's rather cold today, isn't it?
    2. very; to a large degree
    I've got rather a lot of work to do at the moment.

    Then how to decide a meaning? I mean I can say "It's rather cold today" means "It's very cold today". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang
    Your question is rather thought-provoking!
    I think there isn't much of a difference between #1 and #2 to start with-- either way the implication is that it's "quite a lot of work", "quite cold", which is not "extremely" but not far from "very" either.
    When speaking of the weather, do you really need to know how cold is it exactly when someone tells you "it's rather cold"? The meaning is obviously that it's cold, quite cold. Besides, one can always use 'stronger' words if one wants to emphasize something that is more than "quite"/''rather": such as "utterly", "extremely", etc.
    To sum it up: I think when you say "It's rather cold today" it's pretty much the same as "It's quite cold today".

    I'm not a teacher.

  2. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: rather

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Though this meaning is understood in the US, it is not common for someone in the US to use the word in this manner.
    What is the US version then?

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    #4

    Re: rather

    Dear Gillnetter,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    "I would rather that you do not go today". In my grammar book it reads "If 'would rather' is followed by a clause it should be followed by a clause of past tense". According to it your example should be "I would rather that you did not go today". So could you please kindly explain if there is a mistake in my grammar book?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Rather has more meanings than you have listed. The use of the word in the manner you explain it seems to be used in British English. Though this meaning is understood in the US, it is not common for someone in the US to use the word in this manner. Rather is also used to mean "instead of" - I would rather have the green car than the blue car. I would rather that you do not go today.

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