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  1. #1
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    'little things' vs 'few things'

    Hi,

    I wonder why it is correct to say "little things to do" if "little" is used to uncountable nouns but "things" is this sentence is a countable one.

    Also, I've found "few things to do" on COCA. So, are both ways possible for the word "things"? Shouldn't this way be the only possible one for "things" once it is a countable noun?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by jctgf; 25-Nov-2008 at 11:48.

  2. #2
    alethia is offline Newbie
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    Re: 'little things' vs 'few things'

    Are you sure the meaning of the word 'little' in the first phrase was 'not many'?

    A person may have 'little things to do', but it means he/she has a few or many little (=not big) things to do.

    When describing countable nouns, 'little' can only denote size, not quantity.
    (btw. with non-countable nouns it cannot denote size, e.g. 'little milk')

    IMHO, off course

  3. #3
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'little things' vs 'few things'

    Quote Originally Posted by alethia View Post
    Are you sure the meaning of the word 'little' in the first phrase was 'not many'?

    A person may have 'little things to do', but it means he/she has a few or many little (=not big) things to do.

    When describing countable nouns, 'little' can only denote size, not quantity.
    (btw. with non-countable nouns it cannot denote size, e.g. 'little milk')

    IMHO, off course

    Thanks.

    I think you are right.

    "Little things to do" probably mean "small things to do".

    Is it correct to say that "I have a few little things to do tomorrow"?

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'little things' vs 'few things'

    'Little' can be an adjective or a pronoun.

    When it's an adjective it means size and combines with countable nouns: This is a little house / These are little houses.
    When it's a pronoun it means quantity and combines with uncountable nouns: There is (a) little milk in the jug.

    There are a lot of / a few little (small) things to do tomorrow. - grammatical.

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