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    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #1

    leave a little to be desired

    I saw this phrases quite several times but can't be sure what it means, even after I read the whole context of an art critique.

    At first, I thought it meant that the artwork isn't good, and viewers wouldn't have much hope to see any improvements.

    But in the second times I saw this phrase, it seems to says the artwork is very good and viewers are very content and can't think of anything to criticize about.

    Please advise which one is the right interpretation. Is this a positive or negative statement?

    Thanks! ^_^

  1. Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: leave a little to be desired

    There are two:

    Leave a little to be desired-- could be better. (negative)
    Leave little to be desired -- quite good; could hardly be improved.(positive)

    The key is the difference between a little and little, q.v. in your grammar book.
    .


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #3

    Re: leave a little to be desired

    Thanks for the reply. I didn't expect the subtle difference in words can make such a big difference in meaning. Guess I would try to avoid using it. But really thanks for the explanation! ^_^

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