An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday May 27th 2014  Tim Candler


   There's "Nice," and then there is "Quite Nice."  There's "Talented" and then there is "Quite Talented."  And I know this might be a stretch, but if anyone were to see their way toward calling  me "Nice," I'd be rather pleased with myself, and might even make a friend for life. But if anyone was to call me "Quite Nice," I'd tell them to go stuff themselves. And it's the same with the word "Quite Talented," something the Artist is often accused of being.  However, when I explore the word "Quite" in conjunction with the opinions expressed by dictionaries, it seems that for some speakers of the English language "Quite" attached to "Nice" or attached to "Talented" could be deemed a tad more complimentary than just being "Nice" or "Talented."  In other words through convolutions within the social nature of language  "Quite" can have in its meaning "Greatly" or "Completely" as well as  "Slightly," or "Clear Of" and "Free From."

    And I think the point I want to make, is that by attaching the word "Quite" to "Nice" or "Talented," I have always deemed it a detracting imposition, put there deliberately by an irritatingly smug class of people, possessed by that sort of smooth that has arrogance sufficient to utter the phrase "Quite Perfect," or "Quite Right."  The response to both should always be in the form of the question, "Says Who?"  But I will  accept that the better response to "You're Quite Nice," is "You're Quite Astute," rather than my own more traditional and satisfying, "go stuff yourself!"  It's these little understandings I guess, that make the process of socialization even remotely possible, because I can't tell you how many I've dismissed out of hand and crossed the street to avoid, following their use of the word "Quite."  Fortunately the phrase "You're Really Quite Nice" will never, ever in my mind be anything other than a derogatory utterance, no matter how often dictionaries might try to suggest otherwise. And on this I am quite adamant.


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