Correct usage of THE LITTLE

Correct usage of THE LITTLE :


LITTLE : (adjective) : small, especially, in a way that is attractive or produces sympathy

1. I live in a little house.
2. What a nice little garden!
3. She sat for a little while.
4. The little things of life have to be sorted out.

Note :

LITTLE often suggests something that is pleasantly small.

1. I used to sing and dance when I was a little girl.
2. I'd like to have a little house of my own.
3. It is a little house.
4. It is my own little house.
5. It is a small house.
6. It is a small house. I do not like to live here.

Note : the difference between LITTLE and SMALL

LITTLE gives a sense of pleasure and SMALL doesn't.

LITTLE : (adverb) : (less, least) - to only a small degree - a little-known fact

1. I go there very little.
2. There is little hope of an agreement being reached.
3. Would you like some more tea? - Just a little
4. He speaks a little Hindi.
5. They little thought that the truth would be discovered.

They little thought - They did not think

A LITTLE : (also a little bit) - to some degree rather

1. I was not a little annoyed. (I was rather really annoyed.)
2. The average MLA has little real power.

Note : without articles, few and little usually have rather negative meaning

They mean….not as much as one would like and not as many as one would like or similar ideas

1. I have little influence over ministers.

(little: almost nil)

Few can speak English well.

(few : not many (negative sense)

Note :

But A FEW and A LITTLE are more positive in their meaning.

The meaning is closer to SOME.

a few = not very many
a little = not very much

1. Would you like a little coffee?
2. You don't need to go shopping.
3. There are a few eggs and I have a little bread and cheese.
4. The Relativity Theory is very difficult. Few people can understand it.
5. Though the theory is rather difficult, there are a few people who can understand the same.
6. Only a few people are very honest in money transactions.

Sum up : Little - not much - hardly any

A little - Some, though not much

THE LITTLE - not much, but all there is.

1. There is little hope of my wife's recovery. (She is not likely to recover.)
2. There is a little hope of my wife's recovery.

a little hope - some hope
(She may possibly recover - she is likely to recover)

1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
2. The little experience he had, had helped him to get a fine job.
3. The little experience - the experience is not much - but all the same it was there.

Correct usage of THE LITTLE

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