Little vs. A Little

Little is used with singular uncountable nouns.

  • She showed little interest in what I said.
  • I have little interest in philosophy.
  • There was little chance of winning.

Before a pronoun or a determiner (the, this, my) we use little of.

  • I have learned not to think little of anyone else’s beliefs.
  • Could I have a little of that cheese?

Little and a little

Little has a rather negative meaning. It means hardly any. A little means some.

  • Give me a little milk. (= some milk)
  • I have little money. (= hardly any)

A little can be used before comparatives as a modifier.

  • I feel a little better today.
  • This car is a little faster than that car.

Little with adjectives

Little is not normally used to modify other adjectives or adverbs. However, a little can be used before certain adjectives and adverbs having a negative meaning.

  • It was a little embarrassing.
  • You are a little late.
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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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