"Quite" and" rather",though somewhat similar,have basic contextual and grammatical diferences.While "rather",more often than not,shows contrast "quite"does the work of emphasis...It's RATHER unusual...a change from naturality...it's been quite an age...emphasis....
We use quite\rather with the base form of an adjective, rather with the comparative and quite with the superlative. ;-)
Sort of on topic:
I observed an EFL class yesterday. The teacher informed the students that "quite" was an intensifier, whereas "rather" and "fairly" were downtoners.
She insisted that there were major differences between the following phrases:
It's quite hot.
It's rather hot.
It's fairly hot.
Personally, I don't see much difference. Neither did one of her students, who suggested that "quite" could function equally well as a downtoner (whatever that is -- I can't find the term in any dictionary).
What do you think?
From a linguistic standpoint neither answer is appropriate. The meaning of both words in this sentence would be synonymous with "very". By substituting very in place of the words you can see that this sentence would fall outside the conventions of English regardless of locale.