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)
- I 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.
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.)