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I would like to inquire about the accurate usage of the word "rather". I Googled "i suggest rather" and "i rather suggest". They both were used before or after a verb. I am not sure if the usage after a verb is correct. For example:

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather suggest that you take it this year.

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd suggest rather that you take it this year.

Rather is an adverb:

Quote from Cambridge dictionary: "We can put adverbs and adverb phrases at the front, in the middle or at the end of a clause". (Adverbs and adverb phrases: position)

I feel both sentences are correct, but the second usage of "rather" is not bold, it is lighter?

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  • They mean two different things "I'd rather suggest..." means "My preference would be to suggest..." while "I'd suggest rather..." means "I'd suggest ... rather than that." For the first, a native speaker would probably simply say "I'd rather you ..." or "I suggest that you..." depending on how much actual authority the speaker has over the other person (If I had more authority, I'd say "I'd rather..." to make it more of a request vs. a suggestion.) In the second case, I'd probably use 'instead', err, instead. (this is all from the perspective of an AE speaker, from the US upper midwest.
    – danch
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:05
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    If you found the quote online, could you add a link to it?
    – user3169
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 0:04
  • I'd suggest, rather, that you take it this year. with commas.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 19:14

4 Answers 4

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Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather suggest that you take it this year.

"Rather suggest" is unidiomatic here. We'd just say "I'd rather that you take it this year" or "I'd suggest that you take it this year" or "I suggest that you take this year".

"Rather suggest" could be used in the following scenario, where Lynn and John are trying to reach agreement on what they should (perhaps jointly) recommend to Sam:

Lynn: I think we should tell Sam to take the exam next year. John: I'd rather suggest that he take it this year.

Finally:

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd suggest rather that you take it this year.

In this sentence, "rather" means "instead". But John would be more likely to say "I'd suggest that you take it this year instead".

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    +1 for your second paragraph. Though one can imagine: I'd suggest, rather, that you take it this year. With the commas.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 17:02
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The first usage is totally correct although I have never heard the word order "suggest rather".

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  • But the first means something that was almost certainly not what was intended.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 23:34
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Looking into the Cambridge dictionary, I see both sentences are correct. The difference is in the intentions of the responder.

In the first sentence John expressed disapproval, in other words he expressed different opinion or preference. There is a kind of comparison between two opinions, example:

Sam: I'd like to wear the white shoes for this festival. John:No, I’d rather wear the black shoes.

However, " suggest that..." after "rather" is a polite way to introduce an opinion. Instead, John may respond more boldly and directly:

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather take it this year.

In the second sentence John have not expressed different opinion, he just shared his opinion as "very" or "to a large degree", example:

I did rather well in my exams.

I've got rather a lot of work to do at the moment.

He boobed rather badly by getting her name wrong.

I think my husband is the most handsome man in the world, but I realize my

judgment is rather subjective.

I've had a sort-out in the bedroom - it's looking rather better.

I heard something rather worrying at work this morning.

Jane has rather a sharp tongue, I'm afraid.

The correct usage of "rather" in the second sentence is to be included between parentheses"", in this case rather will be inserted in the sentence as an explanation.

For instance, I'd suggest, rather, that..." was mentioned in this ebook.

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The word "rather" can be used in several different ways. It can be an adjective, meaning "very" or "to a significant degree". For example:

  • I am rather thirsty today.
  • This essay is rather good.

It can be an adverb expressing a preference. In this sense the text can often be reworded to use "instead" or "prefer". For example:

  • I would rather visit the museum on Sunday than on a weekday.
  • I would rather not address the subject directly.

It can indicate that one thing is more proper or appropriate than another. In this sense it can often be replaced by "instead". For example:

  • One should not assume that a person is malicious; rather one should suppose that s/he is mistaken.
  • this you should pity rather than despise [Shakespear]

It can be used to indicate a self-correction, usually an increase of precision. In this sense it can often be replaced by "more exactly". For example:

  • Then John returned to his house, or rather, to his townhouse.
  • Later I visited another bar, or rather, several more.
  • I was taught to cook by my mother, or rather my step-mother.

It can be used to specify an opposite. In this sense it can often be replaced by "to the contrary" or "on the other hand". For example:

  • But the bright sun did not make things warmer; rather, the temperature continued to drop.
  • The gift did not make Jane smile; rather she lifted her brows.

It can be used as an interjection to express strong agreement or disagreement, This sense is particularly British, and rather old-fashioned. For example:

  • "Are you planning to work on Sunday?" / "Rather not!"
  • "Would you like to go to a movie?" / "Rather!"

See definitions from:

The exchanges given in the question are:

  • (1) Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather suggest that you take it this year.
  • (2) Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd suggest rather that you take it this year.

In (1) "rather" is apparently being used to express a preference. John would prefer yo make a different suggestion. In (2), John is indicating an alternative. (2) might by more clearly expressed with commas as:

(2A) I'd suggest, rather, that you take it this year.

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