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Thread: sort of

  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default sort of

    A- Can I hold you hand?
    B- Of course you can.
    A- So, what's the problem?
    B- I do not really know...I...
    A- Listen, I like you, don't I?
    B- Yes, I do, but don't do this to me...
    A- And you think I'm sort of beautiful...

    AND

    A- What do think about your new collegue?
    B- Well, I think she's sort of a hard-working persone, very clever and professional.

    Now, my question is: does "sort of" sound like "quite" (with a positive meaning) or like "rather" (with a negative acception)?
    I'm asking it because I have heard it in a film a it sounded like in the first example, as it were "quite", but today my English teacher, who is not a native, has told me that it's used just in American English and only with a negative meaning, very similar to "rather"...Could you give me your opinion, please?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    A- Can I hold you hand?
    B- Of course you can.
    A- So, what's the problem?
    B- I do not really know...I...
    A- Listen, I like you, don't I?
    B- Yes, I do, but don't do this to me...
    A- And you think I'm sort of beautiful...

    AND

    A- What do think about your new collegue?
    B- Well, I think she's sort of a hard-working persone, very clever and professional.

    Now, my question is: does "sort of" sound like "quite" (with a positive meaning) or like "rather" (with a negative acception)?
    I'm asking it because I have heard it in a film a it sounded like in the first example, as it were "quite", but today my English teacher, who is not a native, has told me that it's used just in American English and only with a negative meaning, very similar to "rather"...Could you give me your opinion, please?
    Yes, it means "quite". It's not only used in AmE. And I'm confused as to why you're teacher would say that "rather" has a negative meaning.

    She is rather beautiful = she is quite beautiful = she is somewhat beautiful

    "Quite" and "rather" are modifiers of whatever adjective follows them so "She is rather beautiful" is a positive-sounding sentence and "She is rather ugly" is a negative-sounding sentence.

    I'm sort of hungry = I'm quite hungry (not positive or negative)

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: sort of

    A- Listen, I like you, don't I?
    B- Yes, I do, but don't do this to me...
    The above doesn't make much sense.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    A- Listen, I like you, don't I?
    B- Yes, I do, but don't do this to me...
    The above doesn't make much sense.
    Good point, surely (B) should say "Yes, you do..."

  5. #5
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: sort of

    Thanks so much for your explanation...it's been very useful...actually and unfortunately, I have to confess that in Italy we are generally taught that there's a wide deep difference between "quite" and "rather"...in many books we study English on, authors - and the Italian teachers agree with them - tend to differentiate these two modifiers saying that "we use quite in affermative sentences or in those sentences where we want to underline a positive aspect, whereas we tend to use (it is not a rule though) rather in negative sentences or in those ones where who writes or speaks wants to highlight the bad or negative aspects of what he's writing or speaking about..." Since I am a person who watches a number of movies in English (above all in American English) I did not notice such a difference between those two modifiers, and when I came across this sort of I wasn't able to catch the meaning or the shade of its meaning...

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: sort of

    "The weather is rather good today. Isn't it old chap?" "Yes, it is. It was quite awful yesterday, wasn't it".

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