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  1. salvador.dal1950's Avatar
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    #1

    The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Hello, I recently realized that I've been treating the word "quite" as the equivalent of "very". If something is "quite good" I'd have assumed it meant "very good", and I know that is correct to most English speaking countries. But I found that in Britain when something is "quite good" is not "very good", it means "slightly good".

    My question is: Is this just an exemption or it applies to every "quite + something"? When I say in Britain that "the movie was quite interesting" does it mean that it was boring?

    Thanks you
    Last edited by salvador.dal1950; 03-May-2014 at 21:38.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    In AmE, we usually use "quite" as "very" or "to a great extent". I will leave it to one of our British speakers to explain their usage.

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    #3

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    hi,

    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;

    It's a tricky one in British English. You can check a link to quite an explanation at Cambridge on-line dictionary .
    Another similar word is pretty.
    Cheers.

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    #4

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Quote Originally Posted by salvador.dal1950 View Post
    Hello, I recently realized that I've been treating the word "quite" as the equivalent of "very". "quite" is a confusing word, which you will discover when you consult a dictionary.
    If something is "quite good" I'd have assumed it meant "very good", No, 'quite good' is not as good as 'very good'. But I found that in Britain when something is "quite good" it is not "very good"; it means "slightly good". A better adjective is 'considerably'.

    My question is: Is this just an exemption or it applies to every "quite + something"? When I say in Britain that "the movie was quite interesting" does it mean that it was boring? no!
    Let's take an exam result as an example. If your test score is 80 %, that's very good. 65% or 70% is quite good.
    Thanks you
    add...
    I agree that 'quite good' and 'pretty good' are the same.

  3. salvador.dal1950's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    add...
    I agree that 'quite good' and 'pretty good' are the same.
    Brilliant explanation! Thank you very much!

    Also the link posted by Jaskin was very useful, not only quite useful.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    In AmE, "quite good" and "pretty good" are miles apart.

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    #7

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    In AmE, "quite good" and "pretty good" are miles apart.
    details please

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Usually pretty good means only fair and quite good means very good. Of course voice inflection can make a difference also.

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    #9

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Usually pretty good means only fair and quite good means very good. Of course voice inflection can make a difference also.
    I think that "pretty good" is better than "fair" and "quite good" is not as good as "very good".

    My dictionary defines "pretty" as both 'moderately' and 'quite', so it seems there is some leeway.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: The subtleties of the word "quite"

    And there is a difference between BrE and AmE.

    If I eat a meal and say the food is "pretty good", I was not impressed. If I say "quite good", I was impressed. But that is not true for everyone, evidently.

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