Little vs. a little

In fact, these two words are too important. Therefore, they are asked a lot by the English learners. Click here for more.

What Are Their Main Differences?

We can easily find their differences and similarities because they are majorly used in English. 'Little' means in a small amount, but less than needed while 'a little' means in a small amount but enough.

Differences

Little and a Little as Quantifiers

  • 'Little':

as a quantifier means a small amount or some that is not enough for us.

There is little water in the earth for next generations.

  • 'A little':

as a quantifier means a small amount or some that is enough and sufficient.

A little milk is left in the fridge. We can have it for breakfast.

Little as an Adjective

  • 'Little':

can be an adjective and it means small, but 'a little' cannot be used as an adjective.

Little girls are listening to the song. (Not "A little girls are listening to the song.")

a Little as an Adverb

  • 'A little':

can be an adverb and it means a bit while little cannot be used as an adverb.

Be just a little kind please. (Not "Be just little kind please.")

Similarities

Countable or Uncountable Nouns?

  • 'Little' and 'a little':

as determiners are both followed by an uncountable noun.

She rubbed a little butter on the bread with grace.

We cannot make anything with this little dough.

Little and a Little as Pronouns

  • 'Little' and 'a little':

both can be the pronouns of the sentence. In this case, they are not followed by any nouns.

"How much money is left?" "Little is left. We cannot make it through the year."

She doesn’t know my problems. I told her a little.

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