When I say something is quite clear, does it mean that it's 'so clear' or that it's 'moderately clear but not very'? According to Cambridge dictionary, quite can mean 'very' or 'moderately but not very' depending on the word that comes after it.

I think it depends on whether the adjective that comes after is gradable or not. If I say it's quite cold it means that it's cold but not very cold, while if I say it's quite freezing it means that it's very cold because freezing is non-gradable.

So when I say something is quite clear I think it depends on whether clear is gradable or not. Correct me if I am wrong. So is "clear" gradable or non-gradable?

  • While quite cold is common quite freezing is not because it either is freezing or it isn't - a bit like boiling. Oct 22, 2019 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


When quite is used with to be, the meaning is more along the lines of obvious.

It's quite clear which way I'll take.

It's obvious which way I'll take.

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