Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
    Ducklet Cat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Kuwait
      • Current Location:
      • Kuwait
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    I know this might be a silly question, but cats are know to ask silly questions out of curiosity

    Why do we say the little finger not the small finger?
    Why do we say large fries not big fries?
    Why do we say his size is x-large and not x-big?

    What is the difference - if any-?

    Thanks :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    16
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    I know this might be a silly question, but cats are know to ask silly questions out of curiosity

    Why do we say the little finger not the small finger?
    Why do we say large fries not big fries?
    Why do we say his size is x-large and not x-big?

    What is the difference - if any-?

    Thanks :)
    A good rule of thumb to follow is that BIG & SMALL is used when you know the exact size of the object under discussion.

    LARGE & LITTLE is a relative definition. Use them when you don't know the measurements. A barn is large, and an elephant is little when you compare the two.

    Too, LARGE & LITTLE is often used where there is no need because people love to use larger words -- and BIG sounds preschool anyway.

  3. #3
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,142
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    Finger-wise, several are smaller than the longest finger. So to indicate the "little" finger is more specific, meaning the pinkie (as we call the smallest finger in the US).

    "Big" fries would indicate that each individual French fry was larger than normal. That is, the fries would be the width of harmonicas rather than the slim potato fingers that they usually are. Of course, the Wendy's chain went against this convention when they introduced their "Biggie Size" items - even larger portions than those previously designated as "large."

    To be honest, the use of adjectives to describe big and small depend upon the marketing point of view. For example, "large" can conjure up images of "living large," meaning having the funds to live life to the fullest. "Big," on the other hand, simply sounds like something that is oversized. So when clothes manufacturers indicate sizes on their tags, they hope that "large" and "extra large" have a more palatable subliminal connotation on the consumer's subconscious, rather than, "Hey, Fatso! You have to wear big clothes!"

  4. #4
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
    Ducklet Cat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Kuwait
      • Current Location:
      • Kuwait
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    Things are clearer now.
    Thanks :)

  5. #5
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Germany
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,198
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    I know this might be a silly question, but cats are know to ask silly questions out of curiosity
    Why do we say the little finger not the small finger?
    Why do we say large fries not big fries?
    Why do we say his size is x-large and not x-big?
    What is the difference - if any-?
    Thanks :)
    1. Big and little are more informal and show emotions (subjective): "your little sister" whereas large and small are more formal (objective).

    2. Their usage is a matter of collocations and formality.

    3. Don't forget the adj great (used in more figurative sense than size) which can collocate with big: a great big spider

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Big & Small vs. Large & Little

    Hi Mr Jamshid Ibrahim I am really very interested in teaching languages especially English Lnaguage. I am currently a student-teacher here in my country Morocco in a city called Oujda. I am very pleased to know such people and get acquainted to enlarge our knowledge about teaching English and education in general. I have got my BA in Literary Major from the University of Mohamed First Oujda and now I want to know as many teachers around the world as possible of course because of the new technology and the means of communication. I read your profile and find it interesting for me because I seem to like the same things: travelling, writing, reading and working on some workshops concerning education. My email is EMAIL REMOVED - Send PM to This User Instead and I hope that you can keep in touch!!! Best from Morocco.!

Similar Threads

  1. Large numbers
    By kohyoongliat in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14-Jan-2007, 15:25
  2. as small as or as big as as
    By dido4 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Jan-2007, 12:38
  3. two small questions:)
    By Jenny Lau in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2006, 10:05
  4. teaching large efl class
    By amatoolah in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-Mar-2006, 05:19
  5. have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --
    By peppy_man in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-Jul-2005, 10:16

Posting Permissions

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