The difference between “a little” and “little”

The difference between “a little” and “little”

In this tutorial for beginners’ learners are going to learn The difference between “a little” and “little”. “A little” and “little” are both quantifiers. Quantifiers describes the number or quantity of something.

The general meaning of “a little” and “little is a small quantity of something.

Before we proceed, watch the video here.

We use” a little” and “little” only with uncountable nouns. So these are nouns, things or concepts that we can not count. They are a mass of something.

Examples:

Both of these sentences are grammatically correct, because honey is an example uncountable noun because this is a liquid.

We do not use “a little” and “little” with countable nouns. So when we say;

These sentences are wrong if we are using little as a quantifier to describe to describe a small number of eggs, it is correct if we are using it as an adjective, perhaps to describe the size of the eggs but that is not what we are doing in these sentences, alright?

Let’s look at the difference, so here we have our examples which are both grammatically correct.

Both sentences correctly describe the picture and both sentences are grammatically correct, but there is a very important difference in meaning.

Important difference in meaning

There is a little honey in the bottle.

“a little” means “a small amount” of an uncountable noun.

“a little” simply means “some”.

The feeling or opinion is neutral. It is objective.

There is little honey in the bottle.

‘little” also means “a small amount” of an uncountable noun.

‘little” suggests that the small amount is not enough.

‘little” has a slight negative feeling.

‘little honey” suggests that we would prefer to have more honey.

Let’s look at some examples

The difference between “a little” and “little”

  1. Carl: “The janitor gave me a little help.”

    little help

  2. Carl has 5 dollars in his pocket.

    a little money

  3. Carl: “My teacher gave me a little time to finish my project.”

    little and a little in english

As a reminder:  Countable nouns

We do not use “a little” and “little” with countable nouns.

For countable nouns we use “a few” and “few”.

Downloadable Material

Here’s the downloadable material of Tutorial on The difference between “a little” and “little” here.

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