The word "rather" is an adverb used when choosing one thing over another. This is a good way to ask about a person’s preference. In this case, "rather" is often used with the word "would."

  • What would you rather do, go to the park or go to the beach?
  • I’d rather have a salad for dinner tonight instead of a hamburger. (I’d rather = I would rather)
  • Sarah would rather own a small car that saves gas over a large car.
  • Instead of living in the city, Jerome would rather live in the country.
  • I’d rather be fishing. (rather be + a gerund / a noun / adjective)
  • I"d rather be playing golf.
  • I’d rather be at home right now.
  • I’d rather be rich than poor.

riding a motorcycleHe’d rather ride his motorcycle than drive his car.

It’s common to put "rather than" at the beginning of a sentence:

  • Rather than complain about how bad this is, why don’t you do something to fix it?
  • Rather than do what everyone else is doing, why don’t you do something different?
  • Rather than going out tonight, they’re going to stay at home.

You can also use "rather" as a substitute for the adverb "very." This is more popular in British English, but it’s also heard in American English:

  • She looks rather pleased with herself.
  • This situation is rather difficult.
  • That was a rather exciting experience.
  • I found that book to be rather boring.

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March 17, 2019