Student or Learner
I have a question with the use of 'quite' . I hope somebody can help me.
Does 'quite good' mean more than good, but less then 'very good' ?
How about "quite right" ? does it mean not right, but nearly right?
Under what condition does the adverb 'quite' mean 'the greatest extent' or 'to a degree'?
Can I say because 'right' can't be modified by ' very' (actually, we can't say 'very right', can we?), so the use of adverb 'quite' in 'quite right' means 'completely'; while 'tasty' can be modified by 'very', so the adverb 'quite' in 'quite tasty' carries the meaning of 'to a degree' ?
In fact, does "to a degree" mean 'less then completely' but 'more than expected'?
It's a bit simplistic, Harry. Quite has 2 meanings, as Ian2 explained :
1. fairly, rather
quite right, quite dead
Besides, in AmE quite with gradable adjectives often means sth like very, not fairly, rather.
The usage of quite, fairly, rather, pretty is an interesting grammar topic. Tree or four years ago I made a rule for it. I knew I was reinventing the wheel, but then I had neither the Internet, nor M.Swan.
Hello, Humble. Thank you for your reply:) Does that mean the concept of 'quite good' is different among the English speakers?
In fact, how do I know if an adjective is gradable? Does it say in the dictionary?
I'm interested in your own rule for the usage of 'quite'. May I take this opportunity to ask you to share it with us?
You can test by seeing if you can use other modifiers like very/fairly. You can say very/fairly good, but it is much less common to hear very/fairly dead.
There is an area in the middle, where it can be unclear and the speaker's tone of voice would be important. 'Quite ill' if said with stress on the first word would probably mean 'seriously', but without the stress could mean 'not so seriously' in BrE. There are as Humble says a few differences between the variants and, I believe, that an American speaker would interpret 'quite ill' as being serious.
My home-made rule is in fact a rule of thumb, made without enough resources. It's written in Russian and isn't small - one and a half pages of a4.
I am not sure it's worth translating into English as M.Swan surely explains evrth better for international audience.
On the other hand even now I don't scrap all my numerous rules as they are made specially for Russian-speaking learners and are meant to prevent all typical mistakes.