HomeQ&ADifference between little and small

Difference between little and small

7
votes

It is a little frog

It is a small frog

Is there any difference between "little" and "small"?. I mean, are they interchangeable?

Then I could ask: "is it little?" or "is it small or big?" or "is it little or big?"

Thank you in advance.

15393 views
updated FEB 19, 2010
posted by nila45
You always ask interesting questions! - 00e8f2fa, FEB 15, 2010

17 Answers

2
votes

Solo con respecto a hermanos y hermanas, refieren big y little a edades relativos y nunca refieren a sus tomaños.

Normalmente, in inglés, uno puede poner los adjetivos o antes el sustantivo o después de un verbo copulativo (como "to be").

Ejemplos:

The red truck significa the truck is red.

The little truck significa the truck is little.

Pero, no funciona así cuando el ajetivo les refiere a hermanos o a hermanas.

Ejemplos:

My little sister casi siempre significa My younger sister.

My little sister casi nunca significa My sister is little.

My big sister casi siempre significa My older sister.

My big sister casi nunca significa My sister is big.

Si uno quiere referirle a tomaño de hermano o hermana y si debe usar big o little, puede decir así: my sister is little o my sister is big. Además, no hay talas problemas si usar palabras como: small, petite, y large. Estas palabras le refieran a tamaño en estes casos, y nunca a edad.

Otra cosa: yo le refira a la hermana más viejo que yo como "my big sister", incluso si esté ella muy pequeña. Por otro lado, yo le refira a la hermana más joven que yo como "my little sister" incluso si esté muy grande. No importa si yo tenga cinco años y mi hermana tenga siete o si yo tenga 85 y mi heramana tenga 87.

Pero, adultos normalmente usan las palabras "younger" y "older" porque "big" y "little" suenan un poco infantiles.

Una cosa más:

Bigger, biggest, littler, littlest -- estas palabras le refieran a tamaño y no a edad. Por ejemplo, uno no puede decir "my biggest sister" cuando tenga la intención de decir "my oldest sister."

Pues, big y little pueden significar older y younger cuando se usan para edad, pero bigger, biggest, littler, y littlest no tienen sentido en relación a edades.

updated FEB 18, 2010
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
Thanks. - nila45, FEB 17, 2010
De nada. :) - webdunce, FEB 17, 2010
kudos for composing this in Spanish :) - Izanoni1, FEB 17, 2010
3
votes

There is a very minute nuance between "small" and "little" but your grammar would be correct in using the two terms interchangeably.

I do want to point out the slight difference in meaning.

"That boy is little": the use of the term "little" would indicate that the boys "littleness" is cute.

"That boy is small": the use of the term "small" would indicate that the boy is small for his age or too small for your liking.

This is how I was raised to use the two terms. I would be curious to see if others agree.

updated FEB 18, 2010
posted by renaerules
3
votes

I was also going to give an example with a person:

My little sister: mi hermana menor, lo mismo tiene 30 añoswink

My sister is small. Mi hermana es bajita

updated FEB 18, 2010
posted by 00494d19
Very good answer, Heidita - nila45, FEB 18, 2010
2
votes

Little and small are mostly interchangeable. However: Would you like some soup? Yes, give me just a little please. In this case, you cannot use "small".

updated FEB 19, 2010
posted by 00e8f2fa
You can use the word small in this case if you say: "Yes, give me a small amount please." - renaerules, FEB 15, 2010
yes, give me a small amount - htasha2, FEB 19, 2010
2
votes

Una cosa más.

Bigger, biggest, littler, littlest -- estas palabras le refieran a tamaño y no a edad. Por ejemplo, uno no puede decir "my biggest sister" cuando tenga la intención de decir "my oldest sister."

Pues, big y little pueden significar older y younger cuando se usan para edad, pero bigger, biggest, littler, y littlest no tienen sentido en relación a edades.

updated FEB 18, 2010
posted by webdunce
2
votes

Yes, I would like to add something.

My little sister = mi hermana menor

It does not matter what her age is. It is the same as: my younger sister.

My sister is little = mi hermana es pequeña

I put this so that you can see how this can be expressed in Spanish.

updated FEB 17, 2010
edited by nila45
posted by nila45
Gracias. - webdunce, FEB 17, 2010
1
vote

My sister is little = mi hermana es pequeña

In Spanish, "Mi hermana es pequeña" is the same as "she is a little child". "Mi hermana es grande" is the same as "she is a big child". I mean, always referring to age, never referring to size.

We always say "pequeña" or "grande" to talk about the age. Is the same in English?.

No.

My sister is little normalmente significa que ella está delgada o corta. My sister is big normalmente significa que ella está gorda o alta. Ninguno de estos dos frases normalmente refieren a edad en inglés.

Hay que tener palabras como kid, baby, child, o similares para referir a edad. Y, aún depende en contexto porque pueden referir a edad, tomaño o pesado.

Ejemplos:

My sister is a little baby puede significar que mi hermana está más corta o más delgada que otros bebes o que ella está aún una bebe.

My sister is still a little baby significa normalmente que ella está aún una bebe. Es decir, refiere a edad.

He is a little kid puede significar que él está más delgado o más corto que otros niños o que él está aún un niño.

He is still a little kid significa normalmente que él está aún un niño. Normalmente refiere a edad.

My brother is a big kid puede significar que mi hermano está más alto o más gordo que otros niños que tienen el edad mismo como él. Pero, también puede significar que mi hermano está un niño más mayor. O, por fin, puede significar que mi hermano es un adulto que se comporta como un niño.

You are getting to be a big boy now: Es algo que decimos a niños (que tienen probable cinco año o menos) para hacer que sientan más mayores. En esto caso, big significa older de cierto.

updated FEB 18, 2010
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
1
vote

I knew that this subject had to be investigated in depth. Here you are.

SMALL comparative smaller, superlative smallest

SIZE

not large in size or amount: a small piece of paper a small car a small town

YOUNG a small child is young: She has three small children. I've known him since he was a small boy.

LITTLE

SIZE

[usually before noun] small in size: a little house a cake decorated with little flowers She was cutting the meat up into little bits.

YOUNG

little children are young: We didn't have toys like this when I was little.

SMALL OR LITTLE

small, little- Small is a very general word for talking about the size of something • a small village • a small man • He had small brown eyes. • The envelope was too small. • Do you have this shirt in a smaller size?Little is used, especially in spoken English, to show how you feel about someone or something small, for example to show that you like them, dislike them, or feel sorry for them • What lovely little cakes! • her horrid little dog

WORD FOCUS: short

speech/piece of writing: brief, concise, condensed, abridged person: not very tall, little, tiny, petite

updated FEB 16, 2010
edited by nila45
posted by nila45
1
vote

Often interchangeable, but not always... The addition of the word "a" prior to "little" or "small" makes for some interesting differences as well:

I like a little beer. This would imply that you like a beer of small quantity, or that you only enjoy certain types.

I like little beer. *This implies that there are few types of beer that you like. Your palette may only agree with distinguished beers like Natural Light. * wink

I like a small beer. This one is referring solely to the amount.

I like small beer. This doesn't work too well at all. I did see some 8 oz cans of Bud Light yesterday at the liquor store that all the gals thought were really cute. I guess it might work in that situation.

updated FEB 16, 2010
posted by vevans
"small beer" is a long-established term for beers with a low(er) alchaholic content. - samdie, FEB 15, 2010
"Low(er) alcoholic content beer" is a long-established term for a waste of good beer. - vevans, FEB 15, 2010
1
vote

Renae's answer is right on. I was going to point out the "cuteness" of the word little but couldn't quite decide how to put it.

updated FEB 16, 2010
posted by Yeser007
1
vote

little boy, little bit of coffee.

small as for size.

This little boy is small for his age.

updated FEB 15, 2010
posted by spanelsko
0
votes

Webdunce, I like your last answer. Anyway, I am wondering why you never use the word "small" to say "my sister is small" (bajita) You always use "little". What is the reason?

Nila, es porque, en algunos casos, little y big pueden referirle a edad, pero small nunca le refiera a edad.

My small sister = mi hermana menuda, mi hermana corta o similar

My sister is small = mi hermana está menuda, corta o similar

My little sister = mi hermana menor

My sister is little = mi hermana está menuda, corta o similar

.

Las palabras deben ser juntas para referirle al edades de hermanos...

big brother = hermano mayor

My brother is big = mi hermano está gordo, corpulento, alto, o similar.

.

Además, normalmente big y little pueden referirle a edad solo con brother y sister.

little aunt = mi tía menuda, mi tía corta, o algo así (no le refiere a edad aquí)

.

Ahora, contrario a lo que escribí antes, es posible usar little brother, big sister y tal para referirle a tamaño, pero uno debe hacer muy claro la intención porque en nuestras mentes está muy implantado el concepto que big brother debería signifcar older brother y lo demás.

En una tema un poco diferente, a veces adultos usan little para referirle a niñez como en la frase when I was little... (cuando yo estaba un niño...). Y, con frecuencia, niños -- y solo niños -- usan big para referirle a adultez como en la frase muy común when I get big... (cuando maduro...).

Por fin, cuando hablamos del gobierno o del programa de telerealidad, Big Brother = El Gran Hermano.

Es cierto, mi novela aquí no contiene todo hay para saber sobre little y small. Es seguro que hay mucho más.

updated FEB 19, 2010
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
Como siempre, ¡corríjanme el español! - webdunce, FEB 19, 2010
0
votes

My sister is little = mi hermana es pequeña

In Spanish, "Mi hermana es pequeña" is the same as "she is a little child". "Mi hermana es grande" is the same as "she is a big child". I mean, always referring to age, never referring to size.

We always say "pequeña" or "grande" to talk about the age. Is the same in English?.

updated FEB 18, 2010
posted by nila45
In general, your sentences would suggest small/large in stature. They could mean young/older but that is less common. "big child" is different because "child" implies young and, thus, "big" has to be understood as referring to stature. - samdie, FEB 17, 2010
We do use pequeña y grande en ingles con edades, pero es "mi hermana grande" - my big (older) sister. If we said "My sister is big" (mi hermana es grande) we would assume it meant size in english :) - knkurz, FEB 18, 2010
0
votes

Webdunce, I like your last answer. Anyway, I am wondering why you never use the word "small" to say "my sister is small" (bajita) You always use "little". What is the reason?

updated FEB 18, 2010
posted by nila45
0
votes

In general, your sentences would suggest small/large in stature. They could mean young/older but that is less common. "big child" is different because "child" implies young and, thus, "big" has to be understood as referring to stature

Sorry, Samdie. I have a problem with this. I was taught that "short" and "tall" is for stature. Then, I was confused when I hear "big" and "little", "small" for stature. In the case that these can be used for stature, Heidita's answer is completely correct.

I was also going to give an example with a person:

My little sister: mi hermana menor, lo mismo tiene 30 años

My sister is small. Mi hermana es bajita

I mean, "small" is "bajita". Then, I suppose "my sister is little" is "mi hermana es bajita" too.

updated FEB 18, 2010
edited by nila45
posted by nila45
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