- quiet, quite, quite a
- Careless speakers sometimes fail to distinguish between the sounds of quite and quiet. Quiet is pronounced "KWAI-uht"; quite sounds like "kwite." The meanings of quite are "positively" and "completely": "That is quite the reverse of what you intended." "You were quite wrong in everything you tried." In the senses of "really," "truly," and "to the greatest extent," quite is standard usage (quite ill, quite sorry, quite small), but it should not appear in such phrases as "quite similar" (the ideas are contradictory) and "quite complete" ("completely complete" makes little sense)."Quite all right" is logically indefensible, but the expression is widely used and idiomatically acceptable. The use of quite to mean "rather" (a quite handsome man) is colloquial but permissible. Quite a is often used in referring to an extraordinary quality or unusual personality (quite a joy, quite a comedian); in this sense, its use is informal but not incorrect. Its use to mean "extended" (quite a period of time) is colloquial.
Dictionary of problem words and expressions. Harry Shaw. 1975.