What is the difference between quiet and quietness if we take both as nouns?
For example in sentence: the quiet of a wooded trail. ... why there couldn't be quietness?
The dictionary says:

quiet - absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm

quietness - absence of noise or bustle; calm

I see the same meaning, but I know that there must be some difference, since in the books are exercises about it.


4 Answers 4


In short, there is not much difference. In English, adjectives and nouns and verbs are not distinguished by their spelling, but only by their position in a sentence. So a word "quiet" might be an adjective, verb or noun.

Now adjectives can often form nouns by adding "-ness", so we have "noisy" and "noisiness". As there is no noun "noisy" the word "noisiness" is not redundant. The noun "noise" has a different meaning from "noisiness"

We can form the noun "quietness" in the same way, but in doing so it happens to have almost the same meaning as the noun quiet.

There is a slight distinction:

The quiet of the wood

Might mean the quiet part of the wood. Other parts of the wood might not be quiet. It follows the pattern "The quiet of the night", compare with "The centre of the wood".

The quietness of the wood

Means that the wood is quiet, and I'm discussing this property of the wood.

Walking further from the town, John entered the quiet of the wood. Here the only sounds were the calls of the birds and the rustle of the leaves.

The quietness of the wood was broken by a helicopter flying low over the trees.


According to Ngram both "quiet" (as a noun) and "quietness" are equally common. The meaning is almost exactly the same as well.

Since the extra syllable is unnecessary, my personal preference is to use "quiet", e.g. "the quiet of a windless night". "Quietness" feels excessive, and you might as well go for a more esoteric word like "quietude".


"quiet" - the state of being silent - is less common. The more common word is "quietness". "Quiet" could be used by writers to create a more emphatic sentence.

  • A sudden blast broke the quiet of the night.
  • Actually Ngram suggests they are about equally common. This is why it's good to have an objective reference, since I would have said "quiet" is more common than "quietness".
    – Andrew
    Dec 28, 2017 at 21:09

Quiet is an adjective while quietness is a noun quiet is used to describe a noun like: Michigan is a quiet place. Quietness is used as a noun like: There is quietness all over the place

  • The OP asked about quiet as a noun. This doesn't answer the question. In the sentence, "Michigan is a quiet place," quiet is an adjective, not a noun.
    – J.R.
    Dec 28, 2017 at 10:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .