Is it fine to use in "a very little" in such context?

In the last few days I have slept a very little.

Normally, in such context I use "a little bit" but I'm not sure if "a very little" is idiomatic, because I didn't hear people who use it. So I decided to check it out before I use it.

  • You don't use "a" with "very little", because little is not a noun. Technically, bit is a noun, so you use "a" with it.
    – user3169
    May 21, 2018 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


Drop the "a" - "I slept very little" is the idiomatic version of this.

Compare "I had very little sleep".

  • Thank you. I edited my question based on your notes to be focus on the topic that I asked about. By the way what about "I slept little yesterday" (without "very")? and what about "I slept little bit yesterday" (it was not clear to me in your answer) May 21, 2018 at 12:44
  • 1
    That would be technically correct, but considered highly poetic/downright incorrect in conversation - you can definitely say "I had little sleep", but "I slept little" sounds very strange to me. "little bit" is always used with "a" - "I slept a little bit", "could I have a little bit", etc.
    – ACascarino
    May 21, 2018 at 12:49
  • 2
    You can use it with the "a" but it slightly changes the meaning. For example, "I slept a little" emphasises the fact that you did manage to get some sleep. But, "I slept [very] little" focusses on the fact that you didn't sleep as much as you wanted/needed. May 21, 2018 at 12:56
  • @JamesRandom - very true, I completely missed that you can put "a" there!
    – ACascarino
    May 21, 2018 at 12:58
  • @JamesRandom "I slept a little" is OK, but the real meaning is "I slept a little (while)".
    – user3169
    May 21, 2018 at 22:17

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