In this following context, what does the words ''but rather'' mean? Does it mean ''on the contrary''? or ''instead''? How should I understand this sentence in simple way?

Please, explain this to me. Thanks to All.


For this reason it would be better, concerning this problem, not to assume the bloodless attitude of modern sham-civilization, but rather adopt a reverential attitude in trying to solve this problem and grasp it in its profundity


Source: https://books.google.com/books/about/Collected_Wheel_Publications_Volume_XXVI.html?id=Dgc4BgAAQBAJ#v=onepage&q=Judaism.%20For%20this%20reason%20it%20would%20be%20better%2C%20concerning%20this%20problem%2C%20not%20to%20assume%20the%20bloodless%20attitude%20of%20modern%20sham-civilization%2C%20but%20rather%20adopt%20a%20reverential%20attitude%20in%20trying%20to%20solve%20this%20problem%20and%20grasp%20it%20in%20its%20profundity.&f=false

  • From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English not ... but rather ... - used to say that one thing is not true but a different thing is true. Their usage example: The problem is not their lack of funding, but rather their lack of planning. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 13:33
  • So here what meaning does the word 'rather'? Does it really need here? Isn't it enough only the word ''but''?Thanks @Fumble Finger.
    – Sakya Kim
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 15:13
  • I may be mistaken, but offhand I think it would always be "syntactically valid" to replace all such instances of but rather by just but. That doesn't imply either choice is better or worse than the other (either in general, or in any given context). Also note that James' answer suggests replacing but rather by instead (irrelevantly starting a new sentence and putting the adverbial element after the relevant clause, rather than before it). Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


Rougly "instead". It is used to give advice:

Better not to do X, but rather do Y


You should not do X. You should do Y instead.


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