“Quite” / “Pretty” / “Rather” / “Fairly”

   

 
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Welcome to your “Quite” / “Pretty” / “Rather” / “Fairly” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• How do we use these words?
The difference between “Quite” and “Pretty”
• Using “Rather”
• Using “Fairly”
• Using “Quite”
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

How do we use these words?

You can use “Quite”, “Pretty”, “Rather” and “Fairly” with adjectives or adverbs:

It’s fairly warm tonight.”

The hike is pretty easy.

This is a pretty good cake.”

“Quite”, “Pretty”, “Rather” and “Fairly” mean less than “Very”, but more than “A little”.

The difference between “Quite” and “Pretty”

“Quite” and “Pretty” are very similar in meaning. However “Pretty” is used mainly in spoken informal English.

“Quite” is placed before “a/an”, “Pretty” is placed after:

She’s quite a good chef!
or
She’s a pretty good chef.”

It was quite a tasty meal.”
or
It was a pretty tasty meal.”

You can use “Quite” (but not “Pretty”) in the following ways:

“Quite + a/an + noun” (without an adjective):

I thought that the cake was going to be good! It was quite a disappointment.”

“Quite a lot (of)”:

There were quite a lot of people at the restaurant.”

How many people were there?” “Quite a lot.

“Quite + verb” (especially “like” and “enjoy”):

I quite like tennis, but I prefer football.”

Using “Rather”

“Rather” is similar to “Quite” and “Pretty”. “Rather” is often used for negative ideas:

I don’t like this meal, it’s rather salty.”

She doesn’t like going out, she’s rather shy.”

“Quite” and “Pretty” are also possible in these situations.

When we use “Rather” for positive ideas, it means “Unusually” or “Surprisingly”:

These mangos are rather tasty! Where did you get them?

Using “Fairly”

“Fairly” is not as strong as “Quite”, “Rather” or ‘pretty‘. For example, if a cari is ‘fairly good’ it means that it’s not very good and could be better:

It was a fairly nice day, but there was a bit of rain.”
(“Fairly nice” = it could have been better)

Our house is fairly big.”
(“Fairly big” = it’s not big, but almost)

Using “Quite”

“Quite” can mean “Completely” with these adjectives:

amazing certain clear different
extraordinary impossible incredible obvious
right safe sure true
unnecessary wrong

Are you sure?” “Yes, quite sure.

It was quite clear what the problem was.”

I find baking cakes quite impossible.”

“Quite” can also mean “Completely” with some verbs. For example:

I quite agree with you.”
(I completely agree with you.)

“Not quite” means “Not completely”:

I haven’t quite finished the book.”

I don’t quite understand what you mean.”

I’m not quite ready, give me five minutes.