Here are sentences from The Marvelous Land of Oz and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

The child had no playmates, so he did not know that boys often dig out the inside of a "pumpkin-jack," and in the space thus made put a lighted candle to render the face more startling; but he conceived an idea of his own that promised to be quite as effective.

They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. 'Up, lazy thing!' said the Queen, 'and take this young lady to see the Mock Turtle [...]'; and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon. Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that savage Queen: so she waited.

OALD gives three relevant definitions of quite:

  1. to some degree (British English)
  2. to the greatest possible degree
  3. to a great degree; very; really

I believe the first meaning doesn't fit the context, but I can't decide which of the last two should be used and how. Can they both mean much more effective and much safer respectively?

I guess so because of the fact that there are phrases like twice as ... as, and I think we can just put quite in the place of the twice but kind of keep the way the twice modifies the adjective between the as's.

1 Answer 1


In the sentences provided "quite as" means "to some degree."

As a basic guideline:

"Quite" on its own tends to use the American English definitions you provided. For example:

He is quite a jerk. (To a great degree, he's a jerk)

"Quite as" tends to use the British English definition you provided. For example:

She's pretty, but not quite as pretty as the other girls. (She's pretty, but to some degree not as pretty as the other girls).


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