The Americans are identical to the British in all respects except, of course, language.
Oscar Wilde

We (the British and Americans) are two countries separated by a common language.
George Bernard Shaw

I agree with these witty comments.  Quite.

Quite is my latest favorite British colloquialism.

According to the British English dictionary (which differs greatly from the American English version), Quite is used to show agreement with someone’s opinion or to add emphasis to a statement.  When used alone, it means the same as “absolutely!”

I love the way it succinctly punctuates a statement.  Its clipped cadence seems so utterly British.

For example, in the trailer to publicize the film Jane Eyre, the dashing but dark Mr. Rochester exclaims, “Jane, you transfix me.  Quite.”  This preview was played over and over in the UK, and the phrase stuck in my mind (perhaps because it was uttered by the handsome Michael Fassbender).  I thought it might be an awkward lexicon derived from the period when Bronte wrote her famous novel.

But then it popped up again.  This weekend I was reading a review of a new book in Tatler Magazine.  The book was well-liked, and the review was summed up with the following statement: “Good fun. Quite.

I constantly note the difference in British vs. American English diction, and I try to incorporate a phrase now and then to feel like a local.  At the moment, I am busy getting ready for our April holiday in Africa.  I have to get all my things sorted, be sure to pack torches and plasters in my rucksack, remember jumpers and trousers for cool evenings, and hire a car with a large enough boot to transport our bags to the airport.

Speaking the local lingo is all in good fun. Quite.




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