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Thread: A bit of

  1. #1
    masterding is offline Member
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    Default A bit of

    Does "A bit of" mean a small amount of sth or a large amount sth?
    Webster and Oxford have seemingly contrary answers.
    Definition by Webster quote:"a small amount or quantity : a little of something "
    Example sentence :They understand only a bit of [=a little of] what is going on.
    Link Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
    Definition by Oxford quote:" a bit (of something) (informal, especially British English) a large amount"
    Example sentence :
    The new system will take a bit of getting used to (= it will take a long time to get used to).
    Link bit - Definition and pronunciation | Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com
    So again , does "A bit of" mean a small amount or a large amount?
    Thank a lot.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A bit of

    It will depend on the context.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: A bit of

    I think a "bit" is a small amount. It's use in statement like:

    The new system will take a bit of getting used to
    seems to me to be understatement.

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    masterding is offline Member
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    Default Re: A bit of

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It will depend on the context .
    I don't know what context can I give ,at least I have quoted some example sentences.
    Can you give me some examples with context that illustrate how "a bit of" can mean a large amount of sth?Thanks.

  5. #5
    masterding is offline Member
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    Default Re: A bit of

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I think a "bit" is a small amount. It's use in statement like:



    seems to me to be understatement.
    But Oxford says it means "it will take a long time to get used to".

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    Default Re: A bit of

    That would be understatement.

    It will take a bit of time, if taken as an understatement, means that it will take a long time.

    You can also say this with a literal meaning. It will take a small amount of time.

    You need context to know what the speaker/writer intended.

    How is the new ordering system?
    A: It will take a bit of time getting used to it. Ask me again in 2014. (Understatement. It will take a long time.)
    B: It will take a bit of time getting used to it, but I think we'll be fully on board by the first of the year. (Literal. It will take a small amount of time.)

    You cannot know, if you just see the sentence in isolation, what is meant.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    masterding is offline Member
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    Default Re: A bit of

    If you just say "It will take a long time to get used to.", I don't think we need any context to know the meaning.
    Let me rephrase your example:
    A:How is the new ordering system?
    B: It will take a bit of time getting used to it.
    Does it mean long time or short time ,or we need more informations(context) to decide?

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A bit of

    Quote Originally Posted by masterding View Post
    If you just say "It will take a long time to get used to.", I don't think we need any context to know the meaning. Okay, but both of my sentences used "a little bit" not "a long time."

    Let me rephrase your example: Repeating my sentences is not rephrasing my sentences
    A:How is the new ordering system?
    B: It will take a bit of time getting used to it.
    Does it mean long time or short time ,or we need more informations(context) to decide? How much more clearly can I say this? YES, YOU NEED CONTEXT!
    .
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A bit of

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    How much more clearly can I say this? YES, YOU NEED CONTEXT!.
    So, if I understand you correctly, we need context, then?

    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A bit of

    No, 5jj. *YOU* need cnotxet. The rest of us need context.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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