quite a lot of

  • NealMc

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi

    In your example, I don't think it really makes much of a difference because the numbers and statistics are small, (although my view might be considered a bit pedantic).

    However.....

    A lot of UK people think that Mr Blair should resign right now.
    is more people than
    Quite a lot of UK people think that Mr Blair should resign right now.

    Quite works to reduce "A lot".

    Cheers
    Neal Mc
     

    jetblack

    New Member
    English, UK
    'Quite a lot' refers, in my opinion, to a lesser quantity than 'a lot of'

    There were 'quite a lot' of people suggests less than there were 'a lot of people'.

    As NealMc said, 'quite' reduces 'a lot'

    Jet
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    'Quite a lot' refers, in my opinion, to a lesser quantity than 'a lot of'

    There were 'quite a lot' of people suggests less than there were 'a lot of people'.

    As NealMc said, 'quite' reduces 'a lot'

    Jet
    Interesting! Does this apply in other uses of "quite"?

    Tired vs. quite tired, hungry vs. quite hungry, etc.?
     

    jetblack

    New Member
    English, UK
    I would say in your examples that 'quite tired' is less tired than 'tired' and 'quite hungry' is less hungry than 'hungry'.

    As for 'quite a bit more' being less than 'more' - I would say this denotes a larger quantity...this is getting complicated...

    1. 'there was quite a bit more rain this year'
    2. 'there was more rain this year'
    In my opinion these are comparative phrases really saying the same thing. however, if I was asked to say which phrases indicated the most rain this year versus last year, I'd say the 2nd one.

    not sure if this is grammatically correct, but would simply be my opinion.

    jet
     

    izabella

    Member
    Languageless in EU
    Here is what the Dictionary has to say;

    quite [kwīt]
    adv
    1. entirely: in the highest degree, or to the fullest extent
    I was quite sure I’d met him before.

    2. rather: to a considerable or great degree
    quite small

    3. nearly: used with a negative to indicate that something is almost in a particular state or condition
    The dress is not quite finished.

    4. emphasizing extent: used with expressions of quantity to emphasize the great extent of something
    They spent quite some time considering the problem.

    5. emphasizing exceptional quality: used to emphasize the exceptional or impressive nature of somebody or something
    That was quite a celebration we had yesterday.

    6. U.K. expressing agreement: used on its own or with “so” to express agreement or understanding
    “I didn’t want to mention it until I was sure.” “Quite.”


    [14th century. Originally a variant of quit “unburdened, free,” the modern meaning evolved via the sense “clearly, thoroughly.”]
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I'm just wondering if the OED, for example, would define it differently, since it seems to be used differently in BE than AE.

    Just to follow up and clarify with the BE speakers, if someone says to you as you arrive at their house, "You must be quite hungry. I have some food prepared", does the "quite" here also mean that the host/hostess is saying that you must be somewhat hungry, not very hungry? This is a sincere question. I'm still trying to grasp this use of the word.
     

    jetblack

    New Member
    English, UK
    In your example James, someone asking if you are quite hungry implies they think you are less hungry than if they asked if you were hungry.

    'you must be a bit hungry?'
    'you must be quite hungry?'
    'you must be hungry?'
    'you must be very hungry?'

    The above is put in order of hunger!

    This is my opinion only - grammatically, couldn't tell you!

    jet
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    From the OED

    III. 8. In a weakened sense: rather, to a moderate degree, fairly.

    This sense has develped out of sense II [that is, the sense that we AE speakers use], and is often difficult to distinguish from it. As a result, sense I is usually felt to be old-fashioned or stilted, and has become less common, except where quite is in collocation with certain types of adjective (and their derived adverbs) such as different, separate, right, wrong, sure, definite, etc.


    So ... 'quite right' is more right that right, but 'quite hungry' is less hungry than hungry. ... I don't think I've ever been prouder to be an American. LOL
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Thanks for the responses, jetblack and mgarizona. This is useful information. So if a BE speaker says that he is quite unhappy with the situation, I can hear it as "not quite as unhappy as a straightforward 'unhappy'", and we would still have "very unhappy" beyond that.
     
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