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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default Tesco's "Every little helps"

    Hi,

    I just moved to Edinburgh from the States, and this has been bugging me since I got here.

    Tesco (the big UK supermarket chain)'s slogan is "every little helps."

    I can't stop wondering: every little what helps?

    A search on Google finds a fair number of hits (22 000) for this phrase (though there are twice as many hits for "every little bit helps"). Nobody, however, appears to question it. Is the sentance grammatical? Does it simply mean "every little bit helps," and, if so, where's the extra word?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tesco's "Every little helps"

    Quote Originally Posted by SamF
    Hi,

    I just moved to Edinburgh from the States, and this has been bugging me since I got here.

    Tesco (the big UK supermarket chain)'s slogan is "every little helps."

    I can't stop wondering: every little what helps?

    A search on Google finds a fair number of hits (22 000) for this phrase (though there are twice as many hits for "every little bit helps"). Nobody, however, appears to question it. Is the sentance grammatical? Does it simply mean "every little bit helps," and, if so, where's the extra word?

    Thanks!
    Here's my stab at it:

    Every little saving helps out.

    All the best, :D

  3. #3
    Sam-F Guest

    Default

    Right right, every little saving, or every little bit, or every whatever, but you have to have some subject in the sentence, no?

    Unless "little" can be a noun, this sentence doesn't have a subject, does it? And yet it's in such wide usage (probably the "Tesco-effect").

    So is the sentence grammatically correct?

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-F
    Right right, every little saving, or every little bit, or every whatever, but you have to have some subject in the sentence, no?

    Unless "little" can be a noun, this sentence doesn't have a subject, does it? And yet it's in such wide usage (probably the "Tesco-effect").

    So is the sentence grammatically correct?
    EX: Every little helps.

    The verb is 'helps' and the subject is 'Every little'. The noun 'little' means, a certain but not a great amount, and the adjective 'Every' means, each, which gives us:

    EX: Each amount (you save), albeit it not great, helps (i.e., adds up).

    I'd say it's grammatically correct.

    All the best, :D

  5. #5
    Sam-F Guest

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    Thanks for your reply

    "The verb is 'helps' and the subject is 'Every little'. The noun 'little' means, a certain but not a great amount, and the adjective 'Every' means, each,"

    What I'm confused about is "little" being used as a noun. Merriam Webster only list "little" as an adjective. Dictionary.com do have "little" as a noun, but only as their third entry (the first two being adjectives).

    So little could be used as noun, I guess, but I'm not sure if it's very common. I guess it's just that, to my ear,

    -Every little bit helps

    sounds more correct than

    -Every little helps.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-F
    What I'm confused about is "little" being used as a noun. Merriam Webster only list "little" as an adjective. Dictionary.com do have "little" as a noun, but only as their third entry (the first two being adjectives).

    So little could be used as noun, I guess, but I'm not sure if it's very common. I guess it's just that, to my ear,

    -Every little bit helps

    sounds more correct than

    -Every little helps.
    There's a great online dictionary called OneLook. Most dictionaries are written by either the Brits or the Yanks. :wink: The other dailects of English tend to be forgotten. Given that you're in Edinburgh, though, it might be worth the look-see to check out what dictionaries there have to say on the matter. You may just find that 'little' (noun) is common--in that part of the world, and for that given English dialect. :wink:

    On an unrelated but humorous note, the other day I came across the following stationery heading: Come be the Sun drop. It's Japanese-English. I have no idea what it's supposed to mean and I'm a native English speaker.

    All the best, :D

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