a bit of, a bit, and a little bit

forgoodorill

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, everyone!
I read a book named The Glamour of Grammar recently. There's a sentence really confused me:

The word grammar has taken a bit of a nosedive since the days when some tipsy scholar north of Hadian's Wall mixed up his r's with his l's.

This sentence came from a paragraph talk about the origin of the word 'grammar', a word came from the word 'glamour'. So that's the background knowledge of latter part of this sentence.
My question: Could a bit, a little, or a little bit take the place of a bit of? And why? Thanks in advance!
 
  • tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    'A bit of' can have a meaning similar to 'rather'. 'A bit', 'a little' and 'a little bit' cannot be used in its place.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Could a bit, a little, or a little bit take the place of a bit of?
    You can't use a bit or a little bit normally in that sentence without following them with the preposition of: ...has taken a bit/a little bit nosedive...:confused:

    You can use a little nosedive, but that really doesn't sound like an improvement to me. It just turns a normal phrase into something that sounds rather odd.

    cross-posted
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s very common to use “a bit of [a]” to mean a small amount or degree of something.

    That example could alternatively be written as:


    The word grammar has taken something of a nosedive…
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Rightly, people have taken your question literally and said that none of your suggested phrases could replace 'a bit of'; but I wonder if you thought carefully about exactly which words you wanted to replace? I'm only asking because:

    a bit of a nosedive cannot be replaced by a little bit nosedive
    BUT
    CAN be replaced by a little bit of a nosedive

    although it's hardly worth it as the word 'little' is redundant.
     

    forgoodorill

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You can't use a bit or a little bit normally in that sentence without following them with the preposition of: ...has taken a bit/a little bit nosedive...:confused:

    You can use a little nosedive, but that really doesn't sound like an improvement to me. It just turns a normal phrase into something that sounds rather odd.

    cross-posted
    Thanks for your reply, owlman5!
     

    forgoodorill

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Rightly, people have taken your question literally and said that none of your suggested phrases could replace 'a bit of'; but I wonder if you thought carefully about exactly which words you wanted to replace? I'm only asking because:

    a bit of a nosedive cannot be replaced by a little bit nosedive
    BUT
    CAN be replaced by a little bit of a nosedive

    although it's hardly worth it as the word 'little' is redundant.
    Thanks, Chez. Sorry for my dumb question. Actually, I barely know the difference between them and I'm confused about this. So just asked in this forum.
     
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