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Example:

I wouldn't call what I feel happiness, but (rather) an ongoing acceptance of unhappiness.

Should I include the word rather? (Or replace but with it?)

  • You can say it with "but" alone, with "rather" alone, or with "but rather". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 22 '15 at 13:50
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Yes, you can very well include "rather" in this sentence, with/without replacing "but".

"Rather" stands for "better" or "more" in comparative contexts like this. So you can use it wherever these words are applicable.

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  • That is not the meaning of rather as used in the example. – user3169 Jan 22 '15 at 17:26
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The meaning in your example for rather is sense 5:

5) on the contrary; quite conversely ⇒ "not a help, rather a hindrance"

The meaning is similar to but, however using but tends to exclude the previous phrase.

I told you not to do that, but you did it anyway.

When using rather, this exclusion is not so distinct.
You are not saying the first phrase is wrong, but that there might be some middle ground between them.

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