Little vs. Some

Both of the two words are quantifiers and they are misused a lot but if you know the meanings. It would make no confusion for you.

"Little" vs. "Some" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Little' refers to a small amount that is not enough, but 'some' refers to an unspecific amount that is unknown.

Differences

What They Refer to

  • 'Some':

refers to an unknown amount. By unknown amount we mean; you do not know the exact amount or number.

They made some money by selling the old books.

Some of our friends requested to be his made of honor.

  • 'Little':

refers to a small amount. That is actually, less than enough and it is mostly defined by almost nothing.

There is little use in investigating money on this subject.

There is little chance for you to arrive on time.

Where They Are Used

  • 'little':

is used in negative, affirmative and interrogative sentences.

We have made little profit of building the new houses.

Is there little hope for me to get to Italy?

  • 'some':

is used in positive sentences. We can also use 'some' in questionsto offer or request something, but only when we are sure that the answer would be a definite 'yes'.

I need some rest. (Not "I don’t need some rest.")

"Would you like some coffee?" "Yes, I would love to."

Tip!

'Any' is a good alternative for 'some' in question and negative sentences. In every cases, we mean in questions whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no'.

Similarities

Grammatical Functions

  • 'Some' and 'little':

are both quantifiers and they are also used as pronouns when the noun is easily understood.

Little bread is on the table, it wouldn’t make for breakfast. → determiner

Some people believe in ghosts. → determiner

That is too much pasta, I asked for some. → pronoun

Here in this example, it is obvious that 'some' refers to ''pasta''.

Singular or Plural Nouns?

  • 'Little':

is followed by a singular uncountable noun.

Add little pepper to the Alfredo sauce.

Plants are going to dry with this little water.

  • 'Some':

is followed by a singular uncountable noun or a plural countable noun.

I would like some tea please.

Some boys act like children.

Little of and Some of

'Little of' and 'some of' are used before noun phrases (determiners + nouns) and pronouns. In this case, the noun after them can be plural even after 'little'.

Some of the aspects of the job make me feel terrified.

She made little of her problems.

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