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  1. #1
    diamondcutter is offline Senior Member
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    hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    One of my books says hes not a bit tired means hes not tired at all and hes not a little tired means hes very tired. Is that true?

    The books name is Basic English Knowledge for Junior High School Students, by Xue Jinxing, Beijing Education Press, China
    Unfortunately, sometimes I am unable to use the "Thanks" and "Like" buttons. I appreciate all of your help.

  2. #2
    tedmc is online now VIP Member
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Yes, that is true. They are indirect ways of saying the same things.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  3. #3
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    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Both phrases in bold mean the same thing. He's not tired. Not even a little.
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  4. #4
    diamondcutter is offline Senior Member
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Thanks, Tedmc and Tarheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    Yes, that is true. They are indirect ways of saying the same things.
    Hi, Tedmc.

    Do you agree with the book or not? The book says the two sentences don’t have the same meaning.
    Unfortunately, sometimes I am unable to use the "Thanks" and "Like" buttons. I appreciate all of your help.

  5. #5
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondcutter View Post
    One of my books says hes not a bit tired means hes not tired at all and hes not a little tired means hes very tired. Is that true?
    Yes, that use of "not a little" is peculiar to British English. I don't think it's used in the American variety.
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/di...h/not-a-little

  6. #6
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    I agree with your reference book. The two phrases don't have the same meaning, as teechar's link explains.
    For example, to say "He was not a little upset about the way things turned out", means that he was very upset.
    Not a teacher.

  7. #7
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Bob: He was not a little upset about the way things turned out.
    Jack: On the contrary, he was very upset.
    Bob: That's what I said.
    Jack: No it isn't.
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  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Both phrases in bold mean the same thing. He's not tired. Not even a little.
    In BrE, the latter is likely to mean that he is very tired.

  9. #9
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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Yes, this is a case of a particular rhetorical device that's common in British English at least—litotes.

  10. #10
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: hes not a bit tired and hes not a little tired

    Never forget the importance of context. Something than might be interpreted one way absent context may be seen entirely differently with that context.
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