a little

a little
to a small degree; somewhat (Freq. 80)

it's a bit warm


felt a little better


a trifle smaller

Syn: ↑a bit, ↑a trifle

* * *

'little' used as an adjective
Little is usually used as an adjective. You use it to talk about the size of something.

...a little table with a glass top.

See entry at ↑ small - little.
'a little' used as an adverb
A little is usually used as an adverb. You use it after a verb, or in front of an adjective or another adverb. It means `to a small extent or degree'.

The economy is expected to slow down a little.

Trading is thought to have been a little disappointing.

The local football team is doing a little better.

The celebrations began a little earlier than expected.

Note that you do not use a little in front of an adjective when the adjective comes in front of a noun.
Several other words and expressions can be used to express degree. For a graded list, see section on degree in entry at ↑ Adverbials. See also section on submodifiers in entry at ↑ Adverbs.
used in front of nouns
Little and a little are also used in front of nouns to talk about quantities. When they are used like this, they do not have the same meaning.
You use a little simply to indicate that you are talking about a small quantity or amount of something. When you use little without `a', you are emphasizing that there is only a small quantity or amount of something.
So, for example, if you say `I have a little money', you are simply saying that you have some money. However, if you say `I have little money', you mean that you do not have enough money.

I had made a little progress.

It is clear that little progress was made.

He started a new business with a little help from his friends.

Having an independent allowance will be little help.

used as pronouns
Little and a little can be used in similar ways as pronouns.

Beat in the eggs, a little at a time.

Little has changed.

'not much'
In conversation, people do not usually use little without `a'. Instead they use not much. For example, instead of saying `I have little money', they say `I haven't got much money' or `I don't have much money'.

I haven't got much appetite.

You haven't got much to say to me, have you?

We probably don't have much time.

You don't have much contact with other people.

You do not use little or a little when you are talking about a small number of people or things. You do not say, for example, `She has a little hens'. You say `She has a few hens'. Similarly, you do not say `Little people attended his lectures'. You say `Few people attended his lectures', or `Not many people attended his lectures'. See entry at ↑ few - a few.

* * *

a little
1 : not much but some

I don't want much: I want just a little bit/piece.

There's a little brown sugar in these cookies.

I have a little money, so I may be able to lend you some.

They offered him a little something to drink before dinner. [=they offered him something to drink]

There was more than a little sadness [=there was much sadness] in his voice.

2 : not much but somewhat or slightly

It bothered me a little.

His house is down the street a little further.

His house is down the street a little. = It's a little down the street.

I'm feeling a little better today.

Repairs will begin in a little [=slightly] more than a month.

He was not a little annoyed [=he was very annoyed] at the interruption.

Her vision of the future was more than a little upsetting. [=was very upsetting]

3 : for a brief time

Please stay here with me a little.

We can walk a little and then catch a cab.

4 : a small amount or quantity

There is only a very little at stake here.

They don't understand much but they do understand a little.

There's still some money in the bank, but only a very little.

They understand more than a little of what is going on. [=they understand much of what is going on]

Don't use too much of this. A little goes a long way. [=a small amount will be enough]

• • •
Main Entry:little

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Little Rock, Arkansas — Little Rock redirects here. For other uses, see Little Rock (disambiguation). City of Little Rock, Arkansas   City   …   Wikipedia

  • Little League Baseball — is the name of a non profit organization in the United States which organizes local children s leagues of baseball and softball throughout the USA and the rest of the world.The Little League was founded by Carl Stotz in 1939 as a three team… …   Wikipedia

  • Little Richard — auf dem Forty Acres Festival der Universität Texas 2007 Little Richard (* 5. Dezember 1932 als Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia) ist ein amerikanischer Rock ’n’ Roll Sänger, Pianist, Songwriter und Schauspieler. Der afroamerikanische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Little Busters! — リトルバスターズ! (Ritoru Basutazu!) Жанр фэнтези, гарем …   Википедия

  • Little Busters! — リトルバスターズ! (Ritoru Basutāzu!) Type Visual novel Genre Fantasy, harem Manga : Little Busters! The 4 koma Type Seinen Auteurs …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Little Red Riding Hood — is a famous fairy tale about a young girl s encounter with a wolf. The story has changed considerably in its history, and been subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings.This story is number 333 in the Aarne Thompson classification… …   Wikipedia

  • Little Miss Sunshine — Título Pequeña Miss Sunshine Pequeña señorita Sunshine Ficha técnica Dirección Jonathan Dayton Valerie Faris Dirección artística Alan E. Muraoka …   Wikipedia Español

  • Little Nemo — is the main fictional character in a series of weekly comic strips by Winsor McCay (1871 1934) that appeared in the New York Herald and William Randolph Hearst s New York American newspapers from October 15, 1905 ndash; April 23, 1911 and April… …   Wikipedia

  • Little River — may refer to:In Australia* Little River, Victoria, a township ** Little River Earth Sanctuary * Little River (New South Wales)In Canada*Little River (Shuswap), a short connecting waterway between Shuswap Lake and Little Shuswap Lake, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Little Rock — Spitzname: Rocktown, The Rock, Capital City Skyline von Little Rock …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Little Nemo — in Slumberland  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Little Nemo (groupe) pour le groupe de rock.  Little Nemo in Slumberland Série …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”