a little more than and little more than

Akasaka

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello members,
I found this sentence in my textbook.

The world's oceans cover a little more than seven-tenth of the earth's surface.

I am wondering if I omit "a" before little, does it make a difference? If so, how?

Thanks in advance for answering my question.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Yes - if you use « a » it means « a small amount more than ». If you omit the « a » it means « not very much more than ». This second version implies that the value was expected to be higher, or at least is relatively low. It is therefore not appropriate in your sentence since there is no expectation of what the value is, and 70% is not a low value.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    As is general with both 'a little' and 'a few', the version with 'a' is positive in feel, but without 'a' it is more negative. It is useful to think of 'little' and 'a little' as different quantifiers, different words.
     
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