Fairly, Quite, Rather and Pretty – Adverbs of Degree.

Adverbs of degree bridger-jones.com

1. Fairly

Fairly is generally a modifier of adjectives and adverbs. It suggests a limited degree.

  • How was your trip? Fairly good. Not the best I’ve ever had.
  • I play tennis fairly well. I will score a few points.

2. Quite

Quite, especially in UK english, suggests a higher degree than fairly.

  • How was your trip? Quite good, you should go.
  • I play tennis quite well. I might beat you.
  • She studied in London, so she speaks English quite well.

Quite also modifies nouns and verbs.

  • I quite like the rain.
  • Paying at the bank was quite an ordeal.

3. Rather (perhaps a little old-fashioned)

Rather is a little stronger than quite. It communicates ideas of more than is normal, more than expected.

  • How was your trip? Rather good. I didn’t think it would be.
  • I rather like this cake. I don’t usually like cakes.

4. Pretty

Pretty is informal and modifies adverbs and adjectives.

  • How are you? Pretty well thanks, and you?
  • I think this film is pretty slow.

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Posted in Practical English.