USA versus UK language usage

There is one variation of usage which has struck me forcibly after many years of reading American magazines and Reviews.

Larry Williams’ wooden moulding plane making dvd was described recently on Woodnet as being quite good.

SEE Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, inc

To my ears this sounded like rather faint praise when I knew perfectly well that the author meant very good indeed.

Having consulted a friend who teaches English to foreign graduates, I now understand a little more about the variable meaning of quite.

Its meaning alters dramatically if used with gradeable or non gradeable adjectives.

Thus; quite unique, quite excellent, quite superb, are all unequivocally positive.
NB it has since been correctly pointed out to me that quite unique is tautology and not good english!

Good has many grades. i.e. Not very good, Moderately good, fairly good, reasonably good, extremely good & outstandingly good. So quite good (in the UK) tends to give an impression of damning with faint praise.

Does anyone else have any good examples of differences of usage spotted in woodworking magazines, please?

Best wishes,
David

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