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"THC has a quite precise modus operandi that taps into a specific brain function"

In the above example (link), quite is used before the adjective precise

But this OLD link says,

When quite is used with an adjective before a noun, it comes before a or an. You can say: It’s quite a small house or Their house is quite small but not - It’s a quite small house.

So I'm quite confused here whether to use quite before a or after it. Which one of the following example is correct?

"THC has a quite precise modus operandi that taps into a specific brain function"

Or

"THC has quite a precise modus operandi that taps into a specific brain function"

And also please explain the grammar rule behind it.

Thanks

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    "Quite" can modify nominals as well as noun phrases. The latter is far more common, but there's nothing ungrammatical about "It’s a [quite small house]", and "THC has a [quite precise modus]".
    – BillJ
    Jan 25, 2018 at 8:11

2 Answers 2

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The grammar point you in the right direction, "quite should come before a/an and even the":

"THC has quite a precise modus operandi that taps into a specific brain function"

BBC also states that the rule is quite + a/an + (adjective) noun:

When quite is used to modify nouns or adjectives with nouns, it normally has the meaning of rather. Compare the following:

  • I know they left in a hurry. How did they leave the house? ~ Oh, it was in quite a mess.
  • How was the house contents auction? ~ Oh, it was quite a success. Nearly everything went.
  • Let's take a picnic with us. I think it's going to be quite a nice day.
  • Did you get to see Hamlet at the Barbican? ~ Yes, it was quite an interesting production.

The usage "a quite + adjective" is less common and appears more often in Academic writing. There's no other difference between the two even if some state there is.

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THS has a quite precise modus operandi that laps into a specific brain function.

There's nothing wrong grammatically with this sentence. You cn also say "......has quite a precise modus operandi......".

You normally use the format "quite a/an + adjective + noun". However, in case of the adjective precise, the use of "a" before quite is more common according to Ngram viewers.

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  • I find your answer useful. But, can you explain this example - "She was a quite unusual and extraordinary being"?. The word "unusual" can be "very unusual" sometimes, which means it's gradable.
    – Raj 33
    Jan 25, 2018 at 15:36
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    Yes, but "precise" is gradable. "very/slightly/quite/extremely precise" and so on.
    – BillJ
    Jan 25, 2018 at 16:12

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