before adjectives and adverbs
to some extent but not very
a fairly easy book
a fairly typical reaction
I know him fairly well, but I wouldn't say we were really close friends.
I go jogging fairly regularly.
We'll have to leave fairly soon (= before very long) .
I'm fairly certain I can do the job.
The report was fairly incomprehensible.
I think you'll find it fairly difficult (= you do not want to say that it is very difficult) .
in a fair and reasonable way; honestly
He has always treated me very fairly.
Her attitude could fairly be described as hostile.
used to emphasize sth that you are saying
The time fairly raced by.
Look at these examples.
The exam was fairly difficult.
The exam was quite difficult.
The exam was rather difficult.
Quite is a little stronger than fairly and rather is a little stronger than quite . Rather is not very common in NAmE ; pretty has the same meaning and this is used in informal BrE too.
The exam was pretty difficult.
In BrE quite has two meanings.
(= fairly tired ). With adjectives that describe an extreme state (‘non-gradable’ adjectives) it means ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’.
I feel quite exhausted.
With some adjectives, both meanings are possible. The speaker’s stress and intonation will show you which is meant.
(= fairly good─it could be better ).
(= very good, especially when this is unexpected ).
In NAmE quite usually means something like ‘very’, not ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’. Pretty is used instead for this sense.