a little

adverb
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.

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 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 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 Audrey — (full name: Audrey Smith) is a fictional character, appearing in Paramount Pictures Famous Studios cartoons from 1947 to 1958. She is considered a variation of the better known Little Lulu, devised after Paramount decided not to renew the license …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

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

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.