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✅ A: As an adverb of degree. 

It is like saying "quite" and is much more common in British English... which is better in my opinion :))) 
- Some hamsters rather like eating meat and at times each other. 
- Yeah, I suppose the ballet was rather good. 
- I found the holiday rather dull. Let's never go to Somalia again. 

When you stress "rather" in a sentence, it gives the idea of "more than was expected/more than usual/more than wanted etc" and is quite common in spoken and written English. 
- How was your date with Angela Merkel? - Rather good! (surprised) 
- My student John speaks English rather well (better than thought but it could mean quite here if 'rather' isn't stressed) 
- It's rather cold here! (I'll put my pajamas on because it's colder than wanted) 

✅ B: As a preference. 

➡ 1: rather than (This is used in parallel structures = between two nouns, infinitives, adjectives etc) 
- I would say that he is obese rather than fat. 
- We ought to spend money on bread rather than on magic beans. 
- I prefer drinking Cola rather than Domestos. (or prefer...to...) 

If you have an infinitive in the main clause, after rather than, the infinitive is without 'to' or you can have -ing form: 
- I decided to kiss my hamster rather than fry it.... OR 
- I decided to kiss my hamster rather than frying it. 

➡ 2: would rather (this is like saying 'would prefer to' and you'll often see the contraction 'd rather. There is no 'to') 
- I would rather crawl across broken glass than kiss you. (Sarcastic) 
- Would you rather go to the cinema or sit by the metro? 
- How about a cheesecake? - I'd rather have a carrot. 
- Let's get drunk! - I'd rather not, to be honest! 

We often use this structure when we lecture someone like kids: Would you rather grow up as a park cleaner or pilot? So yeah, do your homework!!! When you use the 4th example with the negative, it is rather polite and soft. 

➡ 3: would rather in the subjunctive (similar to 'wish' and we say that we would prefer somebody to do something. Therefore we shift down a tense) 
- I'd rather you stopped insulting me now! 
- We can't right now. We'd rather you contacted us next week. 
- Shall I fry that hamster? - I'd rather you didn't! 

For the past we use past perfect: 
- I'd rather you hadn't done that! 
- We'd rather you had said goodbye to your hamster before we fried it. But alas, too late. 

In the examples above, it is much more natural to use 'wish.' 

But you can use present tense subjunctive as well instead of shifting down a tense although a little unusual: 
- I'd rather you don't do that! or: I'd rather he go now. 

➡ 4: or rather (when you correct yourself and is quite formal) 
- I spoke to my mum last night, or rather, my dad and we agreed that.. 
- I fried my hamster, or rather, your hamster and it tasted awful. 

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