As I was reading on the Internet, I came across this:

Even if they want to have it, they can't. It is rather as though, over an immense range of intellectual experience, a whole group was tone-deaf.

I was wondering what's the meaning of "rather as though" (in bold) in this phrase.

  • 1
    The comma is incorrect. "It is rather as though over an immense range of intellectual experience, a whole group was tone-deaf." means "A fair comparison would be a whole group, over an immense range of intellectual experience, being tone-deaf." Mar 19, 2016 at 16:41
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    Short story: you can replace rather as though with as if.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 19, 2016 at 16:42
  • Thanks Edwin for the correction, I've edited it. And thanks as well to Dan, now I understand the meaning of this. Thanks to you two for your quick replies.
    – Pacific
    Mar 19, 2016 at 16:50
  • @DanBron: More precisely, you can replace as though by as if, and rather as quite, somewhat, a bit, or to some extent.
    – Drew
    Mar 19, 2016 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


I think the "rather" is misplaced, here. "Rather" is usually used to offer an alternative to something mentioned earlier. Instead, the second sentence is just clarifying the first. It should be "It is as though, over an immmense...".

"Rather" has another meaning, however, which is something like "more than expected/usual". For example, "He is rather opinionated" would mean that he is more opinionated than the speaker is accustomed to. So, in that context, it could be that the author meant that it was more as though the group was tone-deaf than would be expected. However, that sounds strange, too.

  • Thanks for this precision, I'll remember that. It looks rather and plutôt that we use in French are quite similar.
    – Pacific
    Mar 27, 2016 at 18:57

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