He is not satisfied with her praise. He is rather satisfied with my praise.

I am sure this "rather" modifies "with my praise." But the position of it doesn't have to be in front of "with?" Like only, as in "You only clean your room when it gets helplessly untidy."

  • Why can't i get the question? Hence the up vote by me...
    – Argot
    Jan 17, 2014 at 18:11
  • I was having trouble even understanding what the question being asked was. Jon Hanna's answer is the only reason I can understand it (and even then, I have to assume that Jon Hanna is answering what the intended question was).
    – Doc
    Jan 17, 2014 at 19:08
  • Please edit the question; it is unclear. (Maybe it should be moved to ell.stackexchange.com/?)
    – Martin F
    Jan 19, 2014 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


I am sure this "rather" modifies "with my praise."

You're wrong, it modifies satisfied. It's a vague quantifier, and its vagueness argues against its use, though it is popular in some communities.

But the position of it doesn't have to be in front of "with?"

If you put it there, it is a completely different meaning of the word.

He is surprised, rather, with my praise.

In this sense, rather indicates a contradiction, that contrasts it with the previous statement. Here it is modifying the whole phrase he is satisfied with my phrase.


You could also have:

He is, rather, satisfied with my praise.

The commas make this the sense of rather that applies to the whole sentence and hence contradicts the previous sentence. Hanging on a comma like that would be a bad idea when you could rephrase, as it increases the risk of mis-reading.

  • 2
    Why the downvote?
    – mplungjan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 12:13
  • In this case, my thinking is still wrong?
    – user41481
    Jan 17, 2014 at 12:25
  • Yes, my answer still stands' satisfied has the same grammatical rôle as surprised in your original version.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:14
  • 1
    I do think so, Because "Because, "He is not satisfied with her praise, rather with my praise." is the not same as the example. That sentence is more ambiguous and could be interpreted as either sense of rather I give above, though I'd read it as akin to the last example I give.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:22
  • My dictionaries suggest no controversy.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:43

"Rather" in your example isn't used to modify "with my praise", it modifies "satisfied". In this case it's used to indicate that the amount of satisfaction is different from just saying "He is satisfied with my praise".

  • 1
    Yes, but this is the downtoner rather than the (old-fashioned) intensifier usage of rather. It's rather late v She's rather super! Jan 17, 2014 at 11:24
  • @EdwinAshworth Agreed; I corrected the mistake in my original answer where I said "increase" rather than "indicate".
    – Richiban
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:28
  • Also, quantifiers 'go before' (the term 'modify' here is perhaps ill-defined) noun groups ('In grammar, a quantifier is a type of determiner' / 'A determiner is a word, phrase or affix that occurs together with a noun or noun phrase' [Wikipedia]). 'Rather' is not a quantifier. I also wouldn't call intensifiers and downtoners 'adverbs' as some do. 'Degree ...' or 'secondary modifiers' (the latter allowing semantically-laden -ly forms like worryingly, suspiciously) can be used, provided we accept that 'modify' can be used for the 'modifying' of adjectives and adverbs. Jan 17, 2014 at 11:58

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