Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

make english statements more nuanced

Would you like to be able to make your statements more interesting and more nuanced using just one easy word?

Today you’ll learn the art of using the word “quite” in English.

We’ll show you how to use it in both negative and positive sentences.

Find out when, how, and with whom you should use it.

Let’s start with a quick example:

L: So Michelle we had quite an adventure here in Boston back in August didn’t we?

M: Yeah we did and I bet the next one is going to be pretty awesome as well!


In the conversation above we used “quite.”

We said that we had quite an adventure.

In this sentence, what am I saying?

I am saying that we really had an adventure.

It’s a fun way of expressing that it was a special event.


 Here is a question from a listener:

Hi Dear Hosts,would you mind explaining the use of “quite”?

It seems like it can be used in both negative (e.g. not quite different) and positive sentences (e.g., they are quite different).

I know when “quite” is used in positive sentences, it has similar meanings as “rather, very”.

Does it mean the same in negative sentences?

Thank you for your hard work. You are rocking All Ears English listeners’ world 🙂



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What is the overall meaning:

  • completely
  • wholly
  • fully
  • to an extreme


When it’s used with a negative it means “not completely.”

For example, we might say, “I am not quite sure what to do.”

Another way to say this is:  I am not exactly sure what to do.

Using “quite” here sounds a bit more polite. You might be likely to use it at work.


When it’s used with a positive it’s an intensifier.

He is quite a tennis player.

He is quite good looking.

This is more commonly used in British English.


Use these chunks to sound natural:

  • I am not quite finished.
  • Quite the oppositte.
  • She’s quite the ___. (tennis player, dancer, etc.)
  • He didn’t quite make it. 


*Be careful:

  • Quite
  • quiet
  • quit

Don’t get confused between these three words!

They have very different meanings and pronunciations.


What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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