I know the meaning and usage of the phrases "rather than" or "would rather", but how to explain the sentence "the contrary is rather to be supposed"? And how to use the phrase "rather to"?

It would be better if someone can explain it in Chinese and give some examples.


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    I'm not going to explain it in Chinese (i think you want a Chinese language forum for that) but another way to write that fragment would be "the contrary is to be supposed instead" or "the contrary is instead to be supposed". So, "rather" is synonymous with "instead" in this specific context. – Max Williams May 11 '16 at 8:17
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    You'll understand more easily when you realize that "to" goes with "be" rather than with "rather." You could also say, rather, the contrary is to be supposed. – phoog May 11 '16 at 8:28

Q. "Which bananas would you like?"

A1. "I'd rather have the yellow ones than the green ones."
A2. "The yellow ones rather than the green (ones).

Rather + than signals that a positive and negative preference are in apposition. But rather's location doesn't help you decide which one is which. It can be rather this than that or this rather than that where than signals the negative. The two have a slightly different aspect because rather tends to subordinate the clause it is attached to, so either the positive or the negative statement can be subordinated.

Q. "Do we really think anything will change after the election?"

A. "The contrary is rather to be supposed"

The answer unpacks as "You should rather suppose the contrary viewpoint than the stated one." It is a stilted way of suggesting that if history is any guide, you would be better off taking the other side of the bet. And being subordinated, it begs to be followed by some sort of justification. That is most likely it's true purpose - to be used as part of a rhetorical device which both establishes a (false?) dichotomy and prepares the audience for a particular argument.


Rather here means preferable. There apparently is some proposition P under consideration, and the writer is saying that it is preferable to assume the opposite ("the contrary"), that is, to assume not P.

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