Little vs A Little

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What’s the difference between them?



Adjective: small in size or amount; not big or large.


1. She was a little girl with big dreams.

2. He gave her a little pat on the back for encouragement.

3. He had a little trouble understanding the instructions.

A Little


A Little means a small amount or size.


1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

2. I just need a little help with this project.

3. I think I'll take just a little bit of cake.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. diminutive

2. microscopic

3. wee

4. minuscule

5. scanty

1. Big

2. Huge

3. Abundant

4. Complex

A Little

1. A Bit

2. A Tad

3. Somewhat

4. Moderately

5. A Touch

1. A Lot

2. Ample

3. Abundant

4. Copious

5. Substantial

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Little", "A Little".

1. Remember that 'little' is an adjective used to describe something that is small in size or amount, while 'a little' is used to refer to a small amount or size.

2. If you’re unsure whether to use 'little' or 'a little,' try substituting 'a bit of' or 'some' to see which makes sense in the sentence.

3. When writing, use a spell checker or dictionary to ensure that you are using the correct spelling.

Practice English with the Promova app and avoid misusing confusing words

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word 'little' be used?

Little should be used to describe something that is small in size or amount. For example, you could say 'there was little water left in the glass' or 'I have little patience for this.'

When is the appropriate context for using the second word 'a little'?

A little is often used to indicate a small amount or size. For example, you could say 'I need a little sugar for my tea' or 'I'm going to take a little break.'

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, 'little' is pronounced as /litl/, while 'a little' is pronounced /æ'litl/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

A common mistake is using 'a little' when they mean 'little' or vice versFor example, saying 'I have a little patience' instead of 'I have little patience.' Additionally, people sometimes use 'a little' to describe a large amount or size. For example, saying 'I have a little money' when they mean a lot of money.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. I have _____ sugar left in the jar.

2. He felt _____ overwhelmed by the enormous task ahead.

3. Theres only _____ time before the event starts.

4. She added _____ salt to the recipe to enhance the flavor.

5. The kitten was so _____, it could fit in the palm of my hand.

6. After the long run, he drank _____ water to quench his thirst.

1. A little

Explanation: The sentence implies that there is a small amount of sugar remaining. A little suggests that there is some sugar left, even if its not much.

2. A little

Explanation: Here, the phrase a little modifies overwhelmed, suggesting that he felt somewhat but not extremely overwhelmed.

3. Little

Explanation: Little time emphasizes the scarcity of time or how limited the time is before the event starts.

4. A little

Explanation: This implies she added a small amount of salt, not necessarily that the salt itself was small.

5. Little

Explanation: The adjective little is describing the size of the kitten, emphasizing its smallness.

6. A little

Explanation: After a run, drinking a little water implies drinking a small amount.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.