Dan
I couldn't quite do stuff Does 'quite' here just have a role to exaggerate the verb 'do'? When native speakers use 'quite' in a sentence, what does it usually mean?
Feb 14, 2017 2:31 AM
Answers · 3
Hi Dan! "Quite" is an expressive word, used to describe varying degrees of something. In some sentences, it means "very." i.e. "I'm quite cold." In other sentences, it means "absolutely/entirely." i.e. "I couldn't quite do stuff." Another degree described by "quite" is "fairly/moderately/somewhat". But this might be more common in the UK; I'm not sure. In the US, we almost exclusively use "quite" to mean "very" or "entirely". To answer your question specifically... in your sentence, "quite" means "entirely". Try replacing the word to see: "I couldn't entirely do stuff." We use this phrase to say that we could almost do something, but not entirely. For example, if I were attempting to do a chin up, I might get halfway. Then I would tell people, "I couldn't quite do it."
February 14, 2017
There is a different meaning for quite in this sentence. David is correctly using the more British use of quite, which is not used as often in the United States. Quite can also mean "just barely not." In other words, when they say "I couldn't quite do that" it means that they almost could, they could come really close to doing it, but they are not able to fully do it. Hope that makes sense!
February 14, 2017
Quite is a tricky word that doesn't always translate directly Let's think of some examples using "do" and "quite" in a sentence. I do quite like your sweater. Translation: I like your sweater a lot - Really, I do. We do quite want to go to the park. Translation: We want to go to the park - Really, you might not believe us, but we do want to go. It's not just exaggerating the word "do," but also the verb - usually the handle verb. Hope this is clear. Ask away if not :)
February 14, 2017
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