This is a guide to help learners to communicate easily in both speech and writing through a better understanding of the English language.
Quiet / quietness
‘Quiet’ is an adjective meaning ‘not making much noise.’
Bob is as quiet as a mouse. (Very quiet)
‘Be quiet’ is used to tell someone, rather rudely, to stop talking or making noise.
A quiet place or time is one where there is not much activity and there are not many people.
Emma spent a quiet weekend at home.
Why are you so quiet? (Not saying much or not saying anything)
If there are not many customers, your business is quiet.
If you keep quiet, you keep some information as a secret.
I want to have a quiet word with you. (I want to talk to you privately)
‘Quietness’ is the noun.
‘Quietism’ is a calm state in which you accept situations and do not have any desire to change them.
‘Quietude’ means ‘calmness’.
Do not confuse ‘quite’ with ‘quiet’.
‘Quite’ means ‘fairly’.
Susan’s house is quite big.
‘Not quite’ means ‘not completely’.
Shane is not quite ready so we are waiting here.
When you are not certain about something, you say ‘I’m not quite sure.’
The word ‘quite’ is used more frequently in speech than in writing.
If you are quite happy to do something, you are willing to do it.
Quotation marks or inverted commas set off spoken words from the rest of the text. “I want to do it now,” he said.
Modern practice prefers single quotes (‘ … ’) to double quotes (“ … ”), but there are no absolute rules. Quotation marks should be used before and after the paragraph, sentence, phrase or word quoted. The use of other punctuation marks with quotation marks needs some careful study. A comma should be placed at the end of quoted matter before the quotation marks.
“I must finish this job today,” James said.
Quotation marks should be placed around English translations of foreign words and phrases.
Qu’its mangent de la brioche (‘Let them eat cake.’) is a saying attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette.
Racket / racquet
These words are sometimes confused.
A racket is a dishonest way of obtaining money such as by threatening people or selling them illegal goods.
A racketeer is someone who is involved in a dishonest method of a carefully planned system.
A racquet is used for hitting the ball in games such as tennis.
Raise / rise
‘Raise’ means ‘to lift something to a higher position, place or level.’
I can’t raise my arms above my head.
‘Raise’ also means ‘to increase an amount, number or level.’
The Government is planning to raise taxes.
If you raise your eyebrows, you show surprise or doubt.
If you raise your voice, you speak loudly.
If you raise hell, you behave in an angry and threatening way.
‘Rise’ means ‘to increase in number, amount or value.’
House prices are likely to rise.
‘Rise’ also means ‘to appear in the sky.’
The sun rises in the East.
If a large group of people rise against the government, they want to topple it.
If you rise to the occasion, you deal successfully with a difficult situation.
If you rise from the dead, you come alive after having died.
On the third day Jesus rose from the dead.
Rapt / wrapped
Identical pronunciation has led to some confusion.
‘Rapt’ means ‘deeply engrossed.’
Rapt in thoughts he did not say anything.
‘Wrapped’ means ‘enclosed or enveloped in something’.
Thelma received a present wrapped in shiny paper.
We use wrapping paper for wrapping presents.
Rare / scarce
‘Rare’ means ‘not seen or found very often or not happening very often’.
I go to the cinema on very rare occasions.
‘Rarity’ is the quality of being rare.