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quite? 1) I'm quite positive about it. means: I'm really/actually positive about it. 2) she's quite pretty. means: she's somewhat pretty. 3) he thought the bag was heavy, but it was quite light. means: he thought the bag was heavy, but it was truly light. Then, how do I know what "quite" means in different contexts?
Nov 30, 2016 7:40 AM
Answers · 7
Here's the British usage: It depends on the category of adjective and the stress pattern. 1. If it's a gradeable adjective (good, bad, nice, big, small, pretty, expensive, frightening etc) 'quite' means 'a little' and tones down the force of the adjective. So 'quite good' means OK, reasonably good. Both words could have equal stress, or we might stress the 'quite' to emphasise the point that it's not 'very good' but just 'QUITE good' i.e not bad, but not very good either. 2. If it's an ungradeable adjective (fantastic, terrible, beautiful, terrifying), 'quite' means 'totally'. So 'quite terrible' is equivalent to 'completely terrible'. In spoken English, we would stress the adjective rather than the 'quite'. So 'quite AWFUL' would mean 'absolutely awful'. NB American English doesn't tend to use 'quite' in the first sense.
November 30, 2016
In speaking the meaning will come out through the tonality of the speaker. "I'm quite sure" spoken with either confidence or doubt in one's tone gives 2 different meanings. In reading and writing you can't be sure which meaning it is when you take a single sentence by itself, it only becomes apparent by the surrounding description. Example: She's quite pretty, I mean not the prettiest here, but still. She's quite pretty, I think you'll really like her because she really stands out in a crowd.
November 30, 2016
just feel
November 30, 2016
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English