Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: A bit too

  1. #1
    Intoarut is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default A bit too

    Hi: I've found in a textbook the following explanation, "a bit too" is followed by a positive adjective, example: "She's a bit too nice, if you know what I mean." And my question for you is - why should it be followed by a positive adjective? Isn't this explanation arbitrary? Can't I say, for instance, "I've got a friend who's a bit too ironic?" Thanks!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,016
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: A bit too

    a bit too nice- this could suggest that she is intrusive or insincere to me.

  3. #3
    Intoarut is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: A bit too

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    a bit too nice- this could suggest that she is intrusive or insincere to me.
    Thanks, but that's clear. What I can't understand is why (according to the textbook) it's not possible to use "a bit too" plus any adjective - not just positive. Before posting my question here, I googled "a bit too stupid" (just to use any negative adjective) and there are 2,260,000 results! So people use it...

  4. #4
    Intoarut is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: A bit too

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    If, after reviewing exactly what your textbook says, you come to the same conclusion - do not fully believe the textbook. I read a textbook printed in Mexico City that was so full of errors I at first thought it was some sort of book of jokes. The student was upset about this as he had spent a bit too much money for the book. I told him that the book was useless insofar as being a tool to learn English.

    I'll take your advice and pay you guys here a visit from time to time to check the info in my textbooks.

  5. #5
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    2,113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: A bit too

    Quote Originally Posted by Intoarut View Post
    Hi: I've found in a textbook the following explanation, "a bit too" is followed by a positive adjective, example: "She's a bit too nice, if you know what I mean." And my question for you is - why should it be followed by a positive adjective? Isn't this explanation arbitrary? Can't I say, for instance, "I've got a friend who's a bit too ironic?" Thanks!
    When people use "a bit too" + positive adjective, they usually mean the opposite.

    "She's a bit too nice" = "She's not really nice but she pretends to be nice"

    When you use it with a negative, would you mean the opposite?
    "He's a bit too stupid" -- would this mean that he's really smart? It could, but usually it doesn't. When people say something like that they just mean that he's really stupid. Just scanning the first few pages of the Google results you mentioned, it's obvious that people are using this construction with the negative adjectives simply as an intensifier. This is not how this construction works with a positive adjective.

    Your example with "ironic" similarly doesn't really work to mean the opposite. "He's a bit too ironic" -- does this mean he's not ironic at all? That would be absurd. To be too ironic, he has to be ironic. What this would mean then is simply that he's really ironic; he's being ironic too much.

    While with a positive adjective this can be sarcastic, it's not sarcastic at all with a negative one.
    Last edited by freezeframe; 08-May-2011 at 22:37.

  6. #6
    Intoarut is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: A bit too

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    When people use "a bit too" + positive adjective, they actually mean the opposite.

    "She's a bit too nice" = "She's not really nice but she pretends to be nice"

    When you use it with a negative, would you mean the opposite?
    "He's a bit too stupid" -- would this mean that he's really smart? It could, but usually it doesn't. When people say something like that they just mean that he's really stupid. Just scanning the first few pages of the Google results you mentioned, it's obvious that people are using this construction with the negative adjectives simply as an intensifier. This is not how this construction works with a positive adjective.

    Your example with "ironic" similarly doesn't really work to mean the opposite. "He's a bit too ironic" -- does this mean he's not ironic at all? That would be absurd. To be too ironic, he has to be ironic. What this would mean then is simply that he's really ironic; he's being ironic too much.

    While with a positive adjective this can be sarcastic, it's not sarcastic at all with a negative one.

    THANKS!! Your explanation is crystal clear!! Now I see the difference. (The explanation in the textbook is incomplete - that's why it makes no sense at all!!!)
    Last edited by Intoarut; 08-May-2011 at 22:52.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-Apr-2010, 10:22
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-Jul-2009, 05:24
  3. a little bit/a bit
    By user_gary in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-Aug-2007, 07:49
  4. need ur bit help
    By MIS_Student in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 23-Feb-2007, 15:53
  5. need a bit help
    By farideh in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Feb-2007, 03:59

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •