Monday, 6 July 2009

Play-play Only

Recently I was in that playland called Facebook, where I had located long lost playmate-at-work, YatieB. When both of us started our careers at a particularly dinghy government department by the jungle back in '79, YatieB and I often reminisced about our student days on an island way out west which was part of the British Isles.

There we were, sharing an office and a B-line telephone, each with her own over-sized government-issue desk, and chair (with arm-rests, because we were Officers, mind you) and which we purposely dragged on the bare cement floor everytime we got up. That had the effect of one of us jolting the other out of day-dreaming of her boy-friend, and getting back to the work at hand.

Waiting for 4.15 pm, the end-of-office time, we'd talk about British jokes, British comedy, British punctuality, British queues - we were absolute anglophiles back then, bordering on "meluat"ly so. But not anymore off course, it took a couple of months before we lost that lingering yearning for the place that had been our home away from home for 4 years or so.

Anyway, I was on FB where 99 percent of my "friends" are myriad nephews and nieces, including my own children. And so I took this Michael jackson quiz..... and surprisingly that had Kaklong going "kiiiikiiiikiiii" and Rez with a "LMAO" (Laughing My A-S Out - jaga kau Rez!!!)

Here's what the quiz says about what MJ's song I am.

You're an all around good person! You look for the good in people and get along with everyone! People feel comfortable with you.

And the kids laughed??? Their As--s Out??? Do they know something else about me that the quiz did not? For sure I know I did not manipulate the answers, I swear!!!

Well YatieB came on and commented:

Ye lah.... Quite accurate ... "quite in the English context"

Aaah, I was wrong, she's still an incorrigible anglophile.

Quite ...... and ....... accurate

YatieB dear, something is ACCURATE ....... or NOT ACCURATE, is black..... or white, no grey-grey lah, no QUITE BLACK or QUITE WHITE.

But I'm no expert in Brrrritish English or even American slang for that matter. Our ever delightful Manglish however, takes "quite accurate" to mean "not that accurate but boleh lah" , reflecting the accomodating Malaysian psyche.

So I took the liberty to google for an explanation. Everyone, a lesson in Brrritish English follows:

In British English, quite has two different meanings. It does mean completely or entirely, but it also means fairly or rather.

quite = completely

When it is used for emphasis with adjectives that cannot be graded, quite means completely. The colour adjective black, for example cannot be graded. Things can't be more black or less black. They are just black. So, if we put this into context and look at some more examples of quite with ungradable adjectives, we may find:

  • There's no trace of red in her hair - it's quite black.
  • I see no hope - the future looks quite black to me.
  • It's quite impossible to learn twenty new items of vocabulary each day.
  • His performance on stage was quite amazing - we were just spellbound for three hours!
  • Are you quite sure? I think you're quite wrong about this.

not quite = not completely

When not is used with quite, it always means not exactly or not completely. Study the following:

  • Shall we go? ~ I'm not quite ready.
  • Do you like this one?
    ~ It's not quite the colour I wanted.
  • Have you finished that book on Che Guevara yet?
    ~ Not quite.

quite = exactly / I agree

Quite can be used in an emphatic way as a one-word response, meaning exactly or I completely agree:

  • I always knew their marriage would never last.
    ~ Quite! / Exactly! / So did I!
  • If you stay quite still, those animals won't harm you.
    ~ Quite! / That's absolutely right.

quite = fairly / rather

If we are using quite with an adjective that is gradable, it means fairly or rather. The adjective easy, for example, is gradable. Things can be easier or harder. Thus, quite, when used with easy, means fairly or rather. Study these examples:

  • How did you find the maths test? ~ Oh, it was quite
    , really. / It was quite difficult.
  • What did you think of the cabaret? ~ Oh, it was quite entertaining.
  • I'm quite tired but I'll try and finish this book review
    before I go to bed.

quite with verbs

When quite is used to modify verbs, the meaning depends on whether the verb is regarded as gradable or not. Compare the following:

  • I wouldn't want to be on holiday with him, but I quite like him.
  • How did you get on at Barry's party? ~ Oh, it was quite nice. I quite enjoyed myself.
  • I haven't quite finished decorating Jim's bedroom yet, but I will have by Saturday.
  • I quite agree with you. Young children must never be left at home on their own.

quite with a / an + (adjective) noun

When quite is used to modify nouns or adjectives with nouns, it normally has the meaning of rather. Compare the following:

  • I know they left in a hurry. How did they leave the house?
    ~ Oh, it was in quite a mess.
  • How was the house contents auction?
    ~ Oh, it was quite a success. Nearly everything went.
  • Let's take a picnic with us. I think it's going to be quite a nice day.
  • Did you get to see Hamlet at the Barbican?
    ~ Yes, it was quite an interesting production.

If you would like more practice more please visit our Message Board in the You, Me and Us part of our website.

Voila! And so YatieB meant "COMPLETELY ACCURATE" - that I am indeed an all around good person! I look for the good in people and get along with everyone! People feel comfortable with me.

Thank you, thank you YatieB. You still remember me from that long ago.



mekyam said...

quite! ;D

Kak Teh said...

I am quite sure that you are correct.

Anyway, '79 and you were in that island out west that we lost out to Francis Light? Hmmm, I was there too though not quite in a comfy chair that you dragged on the floor. Mine was an old wooden chair on whch I sat to thump away the best intros (or so I thought) for the next day's publication. I sat under the tree most afternoons watching the ships go by while reading pages and pages of lined blue letters in envelopes with London postmark! In the background was an old jukebox playing "Hopelessly Devoted to You!" and one, two three....awwwww or you can puke if you like!

Zendra said...

mekyam you're QUITE a fast learner kahkahkah

Kak Teh, you were QUITE smittened with him, weren't you? And as Livie sang the last few bars, you QUITE probably folded the letter back into it's envelope and lovingly pressed it against your aching heart? WOW!

Kak Teh said...

quite, quite right!

quite hopelessly so.

Naz said...

Oh! 1979...I was still in Standard 5. Quite innocent (nyee nyee nyeeee!) but were able to sing ONJohn's Hopelessly Devoted to You. Holding my mother's senduk, scarf around my neck, wearing my sister's high heels, howling to my heart's content...
I was quite a sight :D

Zendra said...

Naz, QUITE a precocious little nymph you must have been then.... my oh my

mekyam said...


[that would be quite the blighty rejoinder to your comment abt naz. ;D]

but what does it say about me... i was more into belting travolta's numbers. {wail!}

Saya... said...

join me for tea and scones or toast and strawberry jam...

i'm an Anglophile some afternoons...and goreng pisang on others...

Naz said...

my oh my....instead of having mdaud kilau's gelek on my mind today (like the past few days!), I'm now thinking of travolta's cool struts.

Zendra said...

mekyam, hehe you must have been QUITE A SIGHT!

Zendra said...

Saya, why thank you very much my dear but I'm QUITE a vadaii and teh halia connoiseur now in my golden years, which does not mean I'm saying no to your invitation. Just say when!

Zendra said...

Naz, quick go get those white bell-bottoms on - we'll jig a few rounds before dinner - we're gonna have QUITE A BLAST!

Anonymous said...

Zendra...tairu vadai mau?...hehehe...i asyik dok crossline jer dgn mak datin kita pi dia turun day we must get together and have a rojak tea...

jilowantwotwosebensexfiverwanfiverseben...cuba decipher...hehehe...and gimme missed buzz.


Zendra said...

Saya, gotcha!

Anonymous said...

Zendra,,,you are quite an Angel !! hehe,,,i better be quiet yaaaa??


oooyaa ECBW launched this morning yeyeyyyy!!! am quite happy, walau pon dah delay beberapa minggu,,quite fed up gak!!


DrSam said...

quite an educational entry this time madam. My Engrish is quite rusty and smell of budu and ikang.

Zendra said...

Capt. Uban, not QUITE right, just trying to be one ;)

Congrats on ECBW launching! Did you smash a bottle of tuak on her? ;D

Zendra said...

DrSam, just sharing what I learnt. Must thank YatieB for this entry.

And I find your express yourself QUITE (British) beautifully in any language :D

tireless mom said...

QUITE mind boggling. If Manglish say QUITE mind boggling jugak, is that also very complete?

Zendra said...

Hello tireless mom, now that's QUITE a mind-boggling question at this time of night! hehehe

mamasita said...

Zendra..halfway baca I'm quite lost..hehe
So tak tahu nak bagi quite a suitable comment..hmmm.

Zendra said...

mamasita hahaha tutup pc tu gi tidur je ... dah malam ni.. nanti abg tu dah mula serenade, susah pulak nak lelap hehe

Capt's Longhouse said...

yooooo!! tak tidor lagi?? poor honey is dreaming sweet dreams by now hohohoo yaa!! no quite play play lah.