(can't) speak a bit / a little of Italian

sunnyweather

Senior Member
Polish
I know we can say:

'I can't speak a word of Italian.'

I think we can also say:

I can speak a little of Italian.
and
I can speak a bit of Italian.

How about these varieties:

I can't speak a bit of Italian.
I can't speak a little of Italian.
I can't speak any Italian.
I can speak no Italian.
 
  • Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    I can speak a little of Italian.
    We'd actually omit the "of". ie "I can speak a little Italian. I think people would more frequently say simply: "I speak a little Italian", or "I can speak some Italian", though it would depend on the context.


    I can't speak a bit of Italian. This doesn't sound natural. "I can't speak one bit of Italian" might work, but "I can't speak a word of Italian" sounds far more natural to me.

    I can't speak a little of Italian.
    No
    I can't speak any Italian.
    Yes.

    I can speak no Italian. No.Again, this doesn't sound natural. I think that in this sort of sentence, English speakers tend to make the verb negative, rather than what comes afterwards. "I speak no Italian" would not exactly be incorrect, but it sounds clumsy. I think that a native English speaker would be far more likely to say "I don't speak Italian", or "I can't speak Italian".
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top