How to know the word "rather" is meaning to some degree or excessively in a sentence?

They seem make sense to understand as any one of those two meanings in some examples below.


It's rather(meaning to some degree or excessively ?) expensive.

I rather(meaning to some degree or excessively ?) think he was telling the truth.

And how to use rather when I want to express exactly "to some degree" or "excessively" in a sentence?

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and another dictionary:

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  • Replace "rather" with the word "somewhat" in the examples in the first definition and replace "rather" with the word "extremely" in the second definition to help understand the two different usages of "rather". Feb 12 '17 at 11:25
  • Question have been updated and more appropriate.
    – MonKong
    Feb 12 '17 at 16:16
  • Cross-post of english.stackexchange.com/q/373437/64632
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 25 '18 at 14:09

Looking at the first dictionary entry, I don't accept their distinction between definitions 1 and 2. As far as I'm concerned, the two examples for the second definition both mean to some degree, which matches the first definition. If you wanted to make it clear that you meant excessively, you would have to add the word too:

It's rather too expensive
He's rather too young to marry

Looking at the second dictionary entry, the use of rather before an opinion verb merely means that you hold the opinion to some degree, and one could do this in order to be polite. It does not, however, imply that you disagree with what somebody else said.

For examples where you are using rather to contrast two differing views, see the MORE EXACTLY and PREFERENCE section of the Cambridge Dictionary definition.

  • Question have been updated. how to use rather when I want to express exactly "to some degree" ?
    – MonKong
    Feb 12 '17 at 16:14

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