Quiet vs. Quite

Quiet vs. Quite

Two words in the English language that are often confused are quiet and quite. These words mean very different things, but they are spelled so similarly that they are easily confused. The explanation of their differences, however, is quite easily understood.

Quiet is a word that functions most often as an adjective, noun, or adverb (quietly).

As a noun, it denotes a state of being silent, still, or calm; or the absence of noise, movement.

1. The quiet of the front porch was welcome after the hustle and bustle of the inside of the house filled with family and friends.

2. I appreciate the quiet that can be found in solitude.

As an adjective, quiet describes something that makes little or no noise, or something that is discreet.

1. The child was quiet as she tiptoed up behind her father.

2. I don't want a huge fuss-just a quiet gathering of good friends-when I retire.

As an adverb, it describes how an action is performed with little noise or fanfare.

1. The class walked quietly down the hallway.

2. Quietly, the lion stalked its prey.

Quite functions as an adverb, and it means absolutely or certainly; or to an utmost or complete degree.

1. The two brothers are quite different-one is shy and modest; the other outgoing and brazen.

2. I am not quite finished with my test because I still need to proofread my answers.

3. The decorations are not quite right-something is missing.

When these words are confused, it is most likely due to spelling rather than a misunderstanding of what they mean. These words are rarely misused in spoken English, but are interchanged in writing. So, take a quiet moment to think before you write, and your use of these words will be quite perfect!

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