not a little/not a bit

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  • jamesjiao

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English and Mandarin Chinese
    What are you trying to say exactly? Please follow the forum rules and provide context.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, without the context it is difficult to provide a reliable answer to your question. If you use "not a little" when describing a measure of something you are really saying that it should not have been that much. It does not mean "a lot." The amount could be a lot but the expression only means that it is more than you would expect. Eg., "Charlie paid cash for his new Ford. . I never paid more than $10,000 for a new car. The price he paid was not a little,I would say."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Another pair of expressions that natives take for granted. Some context would have helped, but in my understanding:
    "... not a little ..." means more than "a little" and could indeed mean "a lot". I don't think it could mean less than "a little?

    "... not a bit ..." means none.

    Another example of the confusing things that natives take for granted.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Another pair of expressions that natives take for granted. Some context would have helped, but in my understanding:
    "... not a little ..." means more than "a little" and could indeed mean "a lot". I don't think it could mean less than "a little?

    "... not a bit ..." means none.

    Another example of the confusing things that natives take for granted.
    Agreed.

    I am not (just) a little surprised when you call--I am very surprised that you call.

    I am not a bit surprised when you call--I have been waiting for your call.
     

    orangesun1123

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks panjandrum and nichec, for what you have just mentioned are really helpful to me.
    For others, I am sorry I should have provided some examples on it, I will remember next time. Thanks any way!
     

    Yatesman

    New Member
    England, English
    Both expressions are cumbersome, in my opinion.

    I am not a bit surprised to learn of your confusion and not a little concerned that you cannot find a better way to express what you wish to say.

    In fact, 'not a bit surprised' and 'not a little concerned' are really the only two ways I can think of to use these expressions.
     

    jiamajia

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Did you enjoy your lunch?
    1-Not a little. -----(Yes, I did, and tremendously.)
    2-Not a bit. -----(No, not at all.)

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Is my understanding right? Thank you.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I don't think that anyone would say 'Not a little' in this context. In my opinion it is meaningless.
    'Not a bit' does mean 'No, not at all'.
     

    retrogradedwithwind

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If there are sentences like following:
    ——There is a little bread here I think.
    ——No, not a little.
    then what does not a little mean? both much and none?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If there are sentences like following:
    ——There is a little bread here I think.
    ——No, not a little.
    then what does not a little mean? both much and none?
    I can't answer that question because the response "No, not a little," just does not make sense in the context. It is not something a native speaker would say and I can't associate any meaning with it.
     
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