Tell me a little about yourself.

I have got two explanations of "a little":

  1. "a little" functions as a pronoun. It means "something" or "a few things"
  2. "a little" serves as an adverb of degree, which modifies the verb "tell". It means that you don't have to tell me all about yourself, just tell me partly about yourself.

I don't know which one is correct.


For the example you provided, the first explanation is the most fitting.

'A little' may be swapped with 'something' and not lose its meaning:

Tell me a little about yourself.

Tell me something about yourself.

That is because 'a little' is the direct object of the verb 'tell'.

Here are some examples of 'a little' being used as an adverb:

Move that chair a little.

Live a little, love a lot.

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