Quite | English Usage

Quite suggests a higher degree than fairly. It can modify adjectives, adverbs, verbs and nouns.

  • The film was quite good. (modifies the adjective good)
  • I can speak French quite well. (modifies the adverb well)
  • quite dislike him. (modifies the verb dislike)
  • That was quite a celebration. (modifies the noun celebration)

With non-gradable adjectives and adverbs quite means completely.

  • It is quite impossible. (=It is completely impossible.)
  • I have quite finished. (=I have completely finished.)

With gradable adjectives and adverbs, quite means something like ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’.

  • It is quite surprising.

Quite is not used directly before comparatives. We use other words like rather, much or a bit.

  • She is rather taller than her husband. (NOT She is quite taller than her husband.)

This rule, however, has an exception. Quite can be used before better.

  • I feel quite better today.

With nouns

We use quite a/an before a noun with a gradable adjective or no adjective.

  • The film was quite a success.
  • She is quite a crowd puller.
  • That was quite a celebration.
  • It was quite a pleasant surprise.

With non-gradable adjectives, quite comes after a/an.

  • It was a quite perfect day. (NOT It was quite a perfect day.)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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