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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 '18 at 22:16
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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) – Judicious Allure May 21 '18 at 12:44
  • 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 '18 at 12:49
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    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. – James Random May 21 '18 at 12:56
  • @JamesRandom - very true, I completely missed that you can put "a" there! – ACascarino May 21 '18 at 12:58
  • @JamesRandom "I slept a little" is OK, but the real meaning is "I slept a little (while)". – user3169 May 21 '18 at 22:17

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