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Thread: small-little

  1. #1
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    small-little

    I was wonderring if anyone could explain to me the difference in usage between "small" and "little", "big" and "large". Is there a rule, or you just have to feel it? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Re: small-little

    Sometimes little can be used as an adverb. "I'm feeling a little sick." (I'm feeling slightly sick) "I'm more that a little annoyed with you."

    That's about the only rule I can think of. The rest is mostly idiomatic. For the most part, the words are interchangable.
    You can have a small car or a little car and they're the same car. That car can have a small vibration in the steering, or a little one, and they are the same vibration. Something can be of no use or little use, but not small use.
    Generally, big and little and large and small are considered opposites.

  3. #3
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    Re: small-little

    Quote Originally Posted by tatoshka
    I was wonderring if anyone could explain to me the difference in usage between "small" and "little", "big" and "large". Is there a rule, or you just have to feel it? Thanks in advance.

    small refers to size and is the opposite of big or large.

    ex.
    Can I have a small Coke with ice, please?
    Can I have a large Root Beer in a frosty mug?

    The adjective "little" can describe certain emotions too as in:

    "I am so sorry to hear you're sick, you poor little thing" ( compassion).
    " Can you tell that nasty little telemarketer to stop calling us at dinner time!" (anger)

    Big and large are used to describe things that you can actually see and touch:

    "Wow, you've got big feet! .. they look like water skis!"
    "Large feet run in my family" ( = everyone in my family has large feet).

    Make a note that the word big goes with certain countable abstract nouns:

    "You are really making a big mistake" ( or huge mistake but not "large" mistake).


  4. #4
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    Re: small-little

    thanks guys! as i suspected there is pretty much no rule about it, but your examples are very helpful.

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