Difference Between Quite and Quiet (With Table)

It is often believed that English is one of the trickiest languages that there is. The English language is rife with words that sound so similar that a person learning the language can easily get confused between them. The more words you come across, the more confusion it creates. However, with patience and avid reading, the cloud of confusion can be lifted quite easily. Two words that sound quite similar but have completely different meanings are ‘Quite’ and ‘Quiet.’

Quite vs Quiet

The difference between ‘Quite’ and ‘Quiet’ is that while the word ‘quite’ is used in its adverbial form and as a noun, the word ‘quiet’ is most commonly used in its adjectival and verb form. But there is more to the differences than just the parts of speech. ‘Quite’ delineates that something has reached its ultimate or full extent. However, ‘quiet’ means that something or someone is silent or free from unnecessary commotions.

‘Quite’ in its adverb form conveys the meaning that something has reached its entire extent. In its noun form is commonly used in bullfighting, where it means that a matador uses his cape to make passes to divert the attention of the bull. The word first appeared in the texts of the 13th century English language. Quite comes in handy to enhance the force of the word that follows it.

‘Quiet’ when used in its noun form means there is no commotion. It has the same meaning if used as an adjective along with additional meanings- it is used to portray that something is not very busy or is low in quantity, or to describe a person who is reserved or not showy. As a verb, it means to become or to make someone silent. This term has its roots embedded in Latin and Old French texts.

Comparison Table Between Quite and Quiet

Parameters of ComparisonQuiteQuiet
Meaning‘Quite’ means that something has reached its complete extent‘Quiet’ means when something or someone is not unnecessarily loud or is peaceful, or to describe a person who is reserved
Parts of SpeechAdverb, NounAdjective, Noun, Verb, and Interjection
First ReferenceIn LatinTexts of the Middle English language period
UsageIt is commonly used before a verb to enhance its intensity.It is commonly used to describe a situation or a person.
SynonymsAbsolutely, Fully, etc.Silent, Reserved, Peaceful, etc.  

What is Quite?

The term ‘quite’ can be used as an adverb to convey that something has reached its whole extent. For instance, “The noise is quite loud.” This means that the noise has reached its absolute limit.

The word was first used in English writings in the 14th century. In its adverbial form. It meant “completely, or entirely.” In the mid-nineteenth century, the term was used as a weaker substitute for the word ‘fairly.’ In the 1300s, ‘quite’ was often used as ‘quitely’ as an adverb- a term that is no longer in use now. In the 14th century, certain authors spelled ‘quite’ as ‘quight.’

In Modern English, ‘quite’ is used to indicate the intensity of the word that follows it. For example, “Ramya was quite clear about her stance on Marxism.” In this sentence, the usage of ‘quite’ depicts the extent of clarity of Ramya’s stance on Marxism.

‘Quite’ also has a noun form that means a matador during a bullfight uses his cape to make passes to deviate the attention of the bull.

The synonym of ‘quite’ is ‘absolute.’

What is Quiet?

The term ‘quiet,’ when used in its adjectival form, demonstrates that something or someone is free of noises or silent, respectively. For instance, “The streets were quiet during the curfew.” ‘Quite’ is used in this sentence to describe the streets that were devoid of any commotion. Another example is, “Solita is a quiet girl.” The usage of ‘quite’ in this scenario depicts that Solita talks less or is a reserved person.

It is also used to indicate that something is not very busy or is of a low quantity. For instance, “The traffic is quiet due to the lockdown.” Here, the term ‘quiet’ indicates that the traffic, which is generally very busy, was low due to the lockdown.

“All the businesses are quiet due to the pandemic.” In this sentence, ‘quiet’ represents a dip in businesses due to the pandemic.

In its verb form, ‘quiet’ means that someone or something is silent or tranquil or to make someone quiet. For instance, “You should quiet the baby, he is making a lot of noise.” In this sentence, ‘quiet’ is used as a verb to stop the baby from making noises.

As a noun, ‘quiet’ means the same tranquillity. “You need a bit of quiet before the match.” In this sentence, ‘quiet’ in its noun form means that the person needs a bit of quietness before the match to focus better.

 “Quiet! You are disturbing the sleeping puppies.” In this sentence, the part of speech that ‘quiet’ represents is an interjection.

The synonym of ‘quiet’ is ‘silent.

Main Differences Between Quite and Quiet

  1. ‘Quite’ means that something has reached its maximum or absolute extent. On the other hand, ‘quiet’ typically means that something is devoid of noises or someone is silent.
  2. As a part of speech, ‘quite’ is a noun and an adverb. Whereas ‘quiet’ is used as an adjective, verb, noun, and interjection.
  3. ‘Quite’ has its roots in the texts of the Middle English language period. In contrast, ‘quiet’ was originally used in Latin texts.
  4. While ‘quite’ is used as an intensifier to indicate the absolute extent of something, ‘quiet’ is used to depict that something or someone is silent.
  5.  The synonyms for ‘quite’ are ‘absolute’ and ‘thoroughly.’ In contrast, the synonyms of ‘quiet’ are ‘silent’ and ‘calm.’

Conclusion

It is abundantly clear that the two words ‘quite’ and ‘quiet’ sound similar but are not the same. Thereby, these words are not synonymous with one another. ‘Quite’ is more often used in its adverbial form and sometimes in its noun form, too. On the other hand, ‘quiet’ is more often used in its adjectival and verb form and is also at times used as a noun and an interjection. While ‘quite’ indicates that something has reached its maximum or absolute extent, ‘quiet’ is used to describe a situation, thing, or person who is silent.

The two words even evolved during different periods. ‘Quiet’ is of Latin origin. However, ‘quite’ was first used in the Middle English texts, but its spelling differed from its present form. Another stark difference between the words is that while ‘quiet’ means silent or peaceful in its noun, verb as well as adjective form, ‘quite’ in its adverb form means “to something’s absolute extent,” but when used as a noun, it means the passes that a matador makes to deviate the bull from charging towards him.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jae.2374
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2009-09620-015
x
2D vs 3D