a bit of debate

ordinarydaniel

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone,
I always think "a bit of" means a small amount of something, but today I was surprised to see its definition in Collins as "a considerable amount." Is it very common in English to use this expression this way? When I come across it in the future, how can I know whether it means "a small amount" or "a considerable amount"? They are totally opposite! :(
A bit of 释义 | 柯林斯英语词典
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    We had a little bit of an argument. (It might have been intense, but it was quickly resolved. That last part is implied.)

    We had a bit of an argument. (It might have been intense, but in due time it was resolved. That last part is implied.)

    We had quite a bit of an argument. (It probably was intense and it may or may not have been resolved. There is no implication that the argument was finally resolved.)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I use "quite a bit of" with an uncountable noun.

    We've had quite a bit of snow this winter.
    In some threads there may be quite a bit of disagreement.
    I came into quite a bit of money when my uncle died.
     
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