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Quite or Quiet
‘QUITE ? or QUIET ? ’
These two words are often confused by students, or used one for the other !
1) QUIET : (2 syllables) ['kwai/0t] : It may be either - an adjective which means ‘not very active’, ‘calm’.
- a noun = ‘calm', ‘silence’.
ex : After lunch, it’s pleasant to enjoy a moment of quiet rest, (= adjective), reading or playing cardgames, especially in Summer.
ex : We enjoyed the quiet of a walk in the mountains … (= noun)
It's also - a verb, used when requiring calm and silence ! ex : The teacher quieted the students so that the lesson could start.
2) QUITE : (only one syllable) ['kwait] = adverb. In the United Kingdom, it has 2 meanings :
a) = rather. ex : This film is quite good.
When it means ‘rather’, quite is often followed by a/an + + adj. + noun : ex : This is quite an interesting story !
This usage isn't frequent at all in the US where it is often replaced by ‘pretty’ or 'fairly'.( also used in informal British English)
b) = totally, completely, considerably, positively : This meaning is very frequent in American English.
In the US, the speaker’s stress and intonation will show you which is meant : ex : Your essay is quite good (= fairly good — it could be better); Your essay is quite good (= very good, especially when this is unexpected). In the UK, quite ( = totally) precedes adjectives that describe an extreme state ('non-gradable' adjectives).
ex : August was quite cold and rainy (fairly cold and rainy), not quite a perfect Summer month..
ex : Yesterday, he was quite tired (fairly tired), but today, he’s really quite exhausted !
c) Quite can also be used in front of a verb : ex : I quite appreciate your choice …= I totally like the choice you've made !
There are some expressions : Quite right = totally right ; quite a sight (used to stress) = a sight which is really exceptional ; quite a few = a fair number of ; quite a while = during a fairly long moment ; I quite agree = I totally agree !
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