A little / a little of

Richard209

Member
Mexican Spanish
Hola a todos. Espero que me ayuden con una duda que tengo hace un tiempo. No sé cuándo agregar la preposición "of" después de "a little". Por ejemplo:

1)We still have a little time left.
2)Pour a little the sauce over the chicken.
3)The city is regaining a little of its former splendour.

Como ven, en la primera no utilizo "of" y en la segunda y tercera oración sí utilizo "of". Muchas gracias.

Richard
 
  • wardo

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Como regla general se añade "of" cuando te refieres a algo en concreto o a una parte específica, cuando hay respuesta a la pregunta ¿cual o cuales? En castellano funciona de forma similar cuando decimos "algunos amigos" "algunos de mis amigos".
    "I've got a little money".
    "I've got a little of the money that you left me". (aquí especificamos)
     

    Richard209

    Member
    Mexican Spanish
    Flaco777, tienes razón, faltaba el 'of' en la segunda oración(así leí la oración y la copié mal). ¿Pero por qué le agregas 'of'? Otra pregunta: cuando se agrega el 'of' ¿'A litlle deja de ser un cuantificador?
     

    Flaco777

    New Member
    This is an interesting question - when to use "of" after little. As you all know in one's mother tongue we say things without having to think of the underlying grammatical construction.

    I am not an English major but here is my current thinking on how to answer Richard's question.

    In English "little" can be both an adjective and a noun. (And also an adverb.)

    Let's look at the sample sentences he provided:

    1)We still have a little time left.

    In this case little is an adjective which modifies time.
    (and of is not used)

    2)Pour a little of the sauce over the chicken.

    Here little is a noun - meaning "a small quantity". "of the sauce" is a prepositional phrase which serves as an adjective modifying the noun "little".

    3)The city is regaining a little of its former splendour.

    This is similar to #2 - "little" is a noun and "of its former splendor" modifies it.

    Without thinking too much more about it I would say that if you use little as an adjective then you would not use of.

    Flaco
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Como regla general se añade "of" cuando te refieres a algo en concreto o a una parte específica, cuando hay respuesta a la pregunta ¿cual o cuales? En castellano funciona de forma similar cuando decimos "algunos amigos" "algunos de mis amigos".
    "I've got a little money".
    "I've got a little of the money that you left me". (aquí especificamos)
    This is good advice. Before the, a possessive like its or my, or a demonstrative, you need the of since the following noun is already determined. Compare a little, which includes a(n), to algún, which includes un:

    A few friends of mine: Algunos amigos míos
    A few of my friends: Algunos de mis amigos

    A few things: Algunas cosas
    A few of those things: Algunas de esas cosas

    A little time from me
    A little of my time

    A little material
    A little of that material

    A little money that you left me
    A little of the money you left me

    "Un poco" does not work the same way because it cannot act as an adjective without dropping the "un". (Se dice "poca materia" pero no "una poca materia".)
     

    waggledook

    Senior Member
    British English
    the rule is even further ranging than that. It works the same with other determining phrases, such as: some, most, many...

    On top of that, "of" is required when followed, not only by determiners (the,those,my....) but also pronouns.

    I'd like some of those.
    Have a little of mine.
     
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