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.

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.


What They Refer to

  • 'Some':

refers to an unknown amount.

  • 'Little':

refers to a small amount.

Where They Are Used

  • 'little':

is used in negative, affirmative and interrogative sentences.

  • 'some':

is used in positive sentences.

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


'Any' is a good alternative for 'some' in question and negative sentences.


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.

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.

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