you please tell me the difference between a little, a little
bit and a bit with related examples? Thank you.
Luis de Simone from Argentina writes:
you please tell me something about how to use these words: too
many/much, as many as, fewer and less?
/ few and a little / a few
is used with uncountable and few is used with countablenouns. When we use few and little without the
indefinite article, they usually have a negative meaning, but when
we use them with the indefinite article, a little or a
few, they have a more positive meaning. Compare the following:
have few friends in England and I feel quite lonely.
have a few friends in England, so I don't miss home so
have little interest in classical music. I much prefer
have a little wine in the cellar. Would you like some?
than little or few, we sometimes prefer to use a negative
construction with much or many in conversational English,
as it sounds slightly less formal:
has little money. > He doesn't have very much
had few friends. > She didn't have many friends.
little / a bit
little, a bit and a little bit are often used as adverbs
in colloquial British English with little or no difference in meaning.
Compare the following:
driving too fast. Could you please drive a little (bit)
was a long journey and I was feeling a bit / a little
can also combine with of before nouns to suggest a
limited amount of something. Compare the following:
me give you a bit of advice. Don't drive so fast in built-up
not very hungry after the journey. I'll just have a bit of
bread and cheese.
got a bit of a problem. The car has overheated, so we'll
have to wait for it to cool down.
we use it with a determiner or pronoun, little
can also be used in this way:
you like to try a bit of this / a little of this very sweet
love a bit of your / a little of your apple and walnut
cake. It looks and smells delicious.
and less are the comparative forms of few and little
and are used with countable and uncountable nouns,
respectively. Compare the following:
got a little (bit of) money in the bank. Not very much.
Less than I had last year.
weather was awful and fewer children took part in the procession
much / too many
and many can be used as an alternative to a lot of.
Much is used with singular nouns and many is used
with plural nouns. They can be used without nouns if the meaning
is clear. Too expresses the idea of more than enough
or more than necessary. Compare the following:
were many / a lot of people in the dining room,
but there wasn't very much / a lot of food left on the
breakfast buffet tables.
haven't eaten very much! ~ You've eaten far too much
in my view. Much too much.
had put too much salt in the soup and nobody ate it.
sure you can distinguish between too and very. Learners
of English often confuse these two adverbs. Very means extremely
and too means more than is wanted. Too is often
followed by adjective + infinitive clause. Compare the following:
maths problem was very difficult. It was too difficult
for me to solve.
arrived at the hotel very late - too late to have dinner
lake was very muddy. It was too muddyto
A pity! It was perfect weather for swimming. Not too hot.
much / many as
can use as much / many as when we are talking about quantity
and want to compare things or people that are more or less equal.
Much and many can be used in this way as determiners
or pronouns or as an adverb in the case of many.
Compare the following:
prices were falling and she didn't have as much money as
she thought she had.
won't be able to buy as many clothes this year as she bought
breakfast buffet at the hotel was great. You could eat as much
as you wanted.
you like some strawberries with your cereal? Take as many as
don't expect you to finish the report. Just do as much asyou can this evening.
You can criticise my lifestyle as much asyou
like. But it's my life!
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