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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 39

    Little do they know

    Could anyone explain to me this phrase: little do they know.
    As far as I know it means that "they know almost nothing", but I may be wrong.

    Is this phrase used just in formal speech or also in informal?
    Can you give an example.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: Little do they know

    In this phrase, 'little' means 'hardly or not at all', so yes, it means 'they had no idea' (that something was going to happen/was happening).

    You will see it mainly used in stories, where the author will write something like:
    "Later that afternoon, Harold's watch stopped working while he was waiting for the bus. Harold reset his watch to a time given by a bystander. Little did he know, that this simple, seemingly innocuous act, would result in his imminent death."
    (adapted from the movie, "Little Did He Know")


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