using i too much
Qian Aiguo from Hong Kong writes:
Could you please tell me the difference between a little, a little bit and a bit with related examples? Thank you.
Enrique Luis de Simone from Argentina writes:
Could you please tell me something about how to use these words: too many/much, as many as, fewer and less?
little / few and a little / a few
Little is used with uncountable and few is used with countable nouns. When we use few and little without the indefinite article, they usually have a negative meaning, but when we use them with the indefinite article, a little or a few, they have a more positive meaning. Compare the following:
- I have few friends in England and I feel quite lonely.
Rather than little or few, we sometimes prefer to use a negative construction with much or many in conversational English, as it sounds slightly less formal:
- He has little money. > He doesn't have very much money.
A little, a bit and a little bit are often used as adverbs in colloquial British English with little or no difference in meaning. Compare the following:
- You're driving too fast. Could you please drive a little (bit) more slowly?
Bit can also combine with of before nouns to suggest a limited amount of something. Compare the following:
- Let me give you a bit of advice. Don't drive so fast in built-up areas.
If we use it with a determiner or pronoun, little can also be used in this way:
- Would you like to try a bit of this / a little of this very sweet dessert?
Fewer and less are the comparative forms of few and little and are used with countable and uncountable nouns, respectively. Compare the following:
- I've got a little (bit of) money in the bank. Not very much. Less than I had last year.
too much / too many
Much and many can be used as an alternative to a lot of. Much is used with singular nouns and many is used with plural nouns. They can be used without nouns if the meaning is clear. Too expresses the idea of more than enough or more than necessary. Compare the following:
- There were many / a lot of people in the dining room, but there wasn't very much / a lot of food left on the breakfast buffet tables.
You've eaten far too much in my view. Much too much.
Make sure you can distinguish between too and very. Learners of English often confuse these two adverbs. Very means extremely and too means more than is wanted. Too is often followed by adjective + infinitive clause. Compare the following:
- The maths problem was very difficult. It was too difficult for me to solve.
A pity! It was perfect weather for swimming. Not too hot.
as much / many as
We can use as much / many as when we are talking about quantity and want to compare things or people that are more or less equal. Much and many can be used in this way as determiners or pronouns or as an adverb in the case of many. Compare the following:
- Share prices were falling and she didn't have as much money as she thought she had.