English grammar questions, answered by Alan
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- EC Teacher
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As adverbials, the first four are generally interchangeable, all denoting a 'medium-grade' level of modification. 'Quite', however, depending on the adjective that it modifies, can mean 'completely', as in 'quite exhausted', or 'quite finished' (i.e. adjectives which generally do not admit of 'intermediate' levels). 'Very' denotes a higher level of amplification, thus 'very sick' would be sicker than simply 'pretty/fairly/rather sick'.