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    #1

    He is a little fat/He is little fat ?

    Why is it : "He is a little fat", and not "He is little fat" ? Is there an exact reason for the article "a" ?

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    #2

    Re: He is a little fat/He is little fat ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ph2004 View Post
    Why is it : "He is a little fat", and not "He is little fat" ? Is there an exact reason for the article "a" ?
    I like this explanation from CalifJim:


    "a little" has a positive polarity; it focuses on the presence of a small amount.

    "little" has a negative polarity; it focuses on the absence of a great amount.

    I have a little experience. = I have some experience. = I have a small amount of experience.

    I have little experience. = I do not have much experience.

    I think I could do that job fairly well; I have a little experience doing that sort of thing.
    I doubt I could do that job very well; I have little experience doing that sort of thing.

    It seems the patient is recovering from her illness; she shows a little interest in food today.
    It seems the patient is not recovering; she still shows little interest in food.

    Do you understand English?
    -- Yes, I understand a little. = I understand a small amount of English.

    -- Yes, but very little. = I understand some English, but I do not understand very much English.

    I understand English and German, but only a little French. = ..., but not more than a small amount of French.

    He drinks a lot of wine, but little beer. = He drinks a lot of wine, but not very much beer.

    Please stay a little longer. = Please stay a small amount of time longer.

    ?Please stay little longer. = Please don't stay very much longer. (Strange! Insulting! Unidiomatic!)

    Note: "little, a little, much" with noncountables correspond to "few, a few, many" with countables.

    Note: In many cases in everyday conversation, "not very much" is more idiomatic than "little".

    CJ


    Thu, 03 Feb 05 06:49 AM

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    #3

    Exclamation Re: He is a little fat/He is little fat ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ph2004 View Post
    Why is it : "He is a little fat", and not "He is little fat" ? Is there an exact reason for the article "a" ?
    Here ‘fat’ is an adjective. You need an adverb to modify it. Both ‘little’ and ‘a little’ can function as adverbs. With ‘little’; He is little fat. It does not mean anything.

    Look at the following sentences:
    He knows little English. = He knows nothing about English.
    He knows a little English. = He knows something about English.
    He is little fat.= He has no flesh. (meaningless)
    He is very fat. = He has a lot of flesh.
    He is a little fat. = He is slightly fat. = He has some flesh but not much or flesh to a less degree.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 06-Nov-2009 at 03:30.

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