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Happy New Year,everyone. I would like you to do me a favour and help me with the following sentence:

We talked loudly until Miss Green told us to keep quiet/ be quiet.

My question is about the underlined part of the sentence. Will either "keep quiet" or "be quite" do in this situation? I've checked my Longman dictionary and it tells me that "Quiet!" or "Be quiet!" is used to tell someone, rather rudely, to stop talking or making noise." and that"keep quiet" means "to not say anything, because you do not know anything or because you do not want to tell a secret." On the margin of that page in the dictionary, there is a comment I made perhaps a long time ago, which goes, "From the subtitles of the film Africa Screams, I have noticed that 'Keep quiet!' may be used as an imperative, meaning 'Don't talk any more.' or 'Don't interrupt me! Let me go on!' " But now I can only vaguely remember that the film Africa Screams is an old black and white film and nothing else about it.

Back to the sentence under discussion, "keep quiet" or "be quiet" is a part of the sentence, rather than a complete sentence. Please tell me whether they both can be used in this situation?

Thanks!
Comments  
Hi omyrichard,
i find your question interesting and such phrases usually confuse me. I'vee looked up in the dictionary , and there's some difference between keep quite and be quite
Be quiet means you refuse to talk or stop talking, fall silent
Ex: The children shut up when their father approached.
Keep quiet relates much to sensitive or confidential information that you should not reveal.
It means don't tell anyone about secrets and shut one's mouth.

In this case, I think Miss Green wanted them to stop talking because they talked loudly and they were interrupting her.
In my opinion, be quite means do not interrupt me, let me go on (not keep quite). So, my answer is Be quite.
Many thanks,

Wish all of you a very happy new year!!
Thanks,microlab.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
In this particular situation, assuming Miss Green is an accepted authority figure, they'd be interchangeable, "keep quiet" being the more insistent.

As your post indicates, these expressions have many different uses, and in many cases one would be much more appropriate than the other.

- A.
I must note this: in this answer you misspell FOUR times QUITE (instead than QUIET) !!!!. Good intention, but maybe a little more attention wouldn't hurt...
I see it, Anonymous. I'm so sorry for my carelessness and promise to pay more attention on my post. Thanks again.
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Thanks, Avangi. It seems to me that even authoritative dictionaries sometimes fail to give a whole range of senses of a vocabulary item;"keep quiet" in Longman is an example. But this often misleads us non-native learners; we will not dare to go out of that boundary.

Either one should be acceptable. I have often heard the same thing said either way.