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Why when we say "a little" we mean some or even a fair bit, but when we say "little", we mean not much?
Such as, "I have a little money" as opposed to "I have little money" or "I have a little time" as opposed to "I have little time"
asked in words

Leohuberh answers:

Some answers >>
It tired me not a little to answer for three hours. (to a great extent- very much).
I did little to make you comfortable. (a small amount, quantity, degree).
We are a little group of humans (small in number) and we're having a little fun (of a certain amount).
I'm so sorry, I have a little mind (mean, narrow)

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P-Kasso answers:

It is because when you say "I have a little time" you are saying you have something definite. You have a small amount of time you can spare.

But when you say "I have little time" you mean you have some but probably not enough.

'Little time' is negative but 'A little time' is positive, a definite small amout of time.

Hope that makes sense.

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natwarmer answers:

Little did he know what was around the corner. would indicate he couldn't possibly expect THAT!

She wasn't a little pretty. would indicate she was Very Pretty.

I'm with you, if I understand the Q, rainchild: why or how did *little* come to be used in the two ways each example a little degree of such difference.

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