‘Quite' or 'Quiet': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on February 7, 2023

Should you use ‘quite’ or ‘quiet’? The words sound similar but mean different things. But what’s the difference between the two? We’ll cover that below and teach you how to pronounce both words and how to use them in a sentence.

In short, the difference between the two is:

  • ‘Quite’ means the utmost degree or completely. It’s typically used as an adverb.
  • ‘Quiet’ means to make little to no noise. It’s typically used as an adjective.

These words might look similar, but they mean two totally different things, which means you shouldn’t use them interchangeably.

Difference Between ‘Quite’ and ‘Quiet’

The difference between ‘quite’ and ‘quiet’ is that the former is an adverb that means completely or to the utmost degree, and the latter means to make very little or no noise.

You might use the latter to describe something very large or very small. For example, if you saw a very big house, you might say, “That’s quite a big house.”

Use ‘quiet’ when you mean noiseless or discreet.

‘Quite’ vs. ‘Quiet’ – Difference and Comparison

As you just learned, ‘quite’ and ‘quiet’ are two different words with two totally different meanings.

There’s only a slight difference in spelling. Flipping the ‘te’ to ‘et’ gives you a whole new meaning.

People often use ‘quite’ to mean fully, altogether, truly, or utterly.

You might have heard that something is ‘quite’ small.

You might have also heard the phrase ‘quiet’ as a mouse, which means silent.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Quite’ and ‘Quiet’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘quite’ is wholly, completely, and to an extreme: positively.

It could also mean rather.

The same dictionary defines 'quiet' as the state of being quiet or free from noise or uproar. It could be used to refer to something that’s still or someone that’s conservative.

It might also be used to mean calm, gentle, easygoing, secluded, or carried out secretly.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Quiet’ and ‘Quite’

Wondering how to pronounce these words? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘quite’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: kwIEt
  • To pronounce ‘quiet’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: kwIEUHt

How to Use ‘Quite’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what both words mean and how to pronounce them, let’s see some examples of how to use both in a sentence. Let’s start with ‘quite.’

  • That’s quite the outfit. Can I ask where you got it?
  • Her house is quite small. I didn’t want to say anything while I was there.
  • I wasn’t quite sure what to think about my friend ghosting me until she finally called me to explain what had happened.
  • This room isn’t quite what I expected. I wanted an ocean view.

How to Use ‘Quiet’ in a Sentence

Now, let’s take a look at some examples of how to use ‘quiet’ in a sentence.

  • If you want me to buy you something, you have to be quiet while Daddy’s taking a nap.
  • Would you be quiet? We’re going to get caught if you keep talking.
  • We have to be quiet whenever my mom has company over. She thinks we make too much noise.
  • I know you like the dialogue, but I feel like this character should stay quiet here.

Final Thoughts on ‘Quite’ and ‘Quiet’ 

To recap, the difference between these words is:

  • ‘Quite’ means completely. It’s usually used as an adverb.
  • ‘Quiet’ means to make very little noise or none at all. It’s used as an adverb.

These words can’t be used interchangeably because they mean two different things.

If you ever get stuck on usage or meaning, you can always come back to refresh your memory. We’ve got a whole library of content on other confusing words you might want to check out since you might come across them while learning the language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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