Little bit is a phrase that means a small amount of something. You can use it in sentences, but it’s informal and redundant.
Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of little bit, how to use it, and some alternative ways to say it in a sentence.
Little Bit Definition
The phrase little bit is a common idiom in English. Little bit can mean somewhat, or it can specify a small amount of a thing.
The small amount can refer to a tangible thing or something intangible, like time. For example, it’s common to hear sentences like, “We talked for a little bit,” especially in the United States.
Each word in the phrase little bit means the same thing, which makes this idiom redundant. But idioms are quite common in conversational English, so you don’t need to avoid the phrase completely.
Little Bit Meaning
You might think that because both words in little bit mean “small,” that combined they refer to something extra tiny. This isn’t necessarily the case, however.
Little bit often means “to some extent,” so little bit can mean anything from miniscule to moderate. It’s a vague expression, so context is important.
Sometimes, we use little bit sarcastically to mean the opposite of its standard meaning. For example, if a child is screaming and throwing things, we might say, “I think she’s a little bit angry.” This is an example of the rhetorical device litotes.
Little Bit Example Sentences
Here are some examples of how to use little bit in a sentence.
- I only want a little bit of cake, please.
- I’m so happy for Jenni getting the promotion, but I’m also a little bit jealous.
- We will go to the birthday party in just a little bit.
- She’s a little bit obsessive about how to clean the kitchen.
- If I play with my toddler for a little bit after breakfast, he then lets me work in peace.
- That girl is a little bit annoying.
Should You Use Little Bit in a Sentence?
Little bit is fine to use in conversational writing, but its redundancy can make it hard to read. Instead of using both words, try using either the word little or the word bit.
You should completely avoid little bit in formal writing, however. In addition to being redundant and affecting readability, little bit has an informal tone and is vague. It’s not always clear whether you mean teeny-tiny or moderate when you use little bit.
Using idioms can also affect readability for non-native English speakers. A non-native speaker might translate “little bit funny” as “small small funny.” This doesn’t translate clearly and will affect comprehension.
Little Bit Synonyms
Cut out redundancy and add specificity with a better word. Here are some synonyms for little bit you can use in your writing:
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