Little did he remember of what had happened.

Can you explain to me please why the preposition "of" is used? Is it necessary? Would it be without that a grammatical mistake?


2 Answers 2


Little did he remember of what had happened. = He did remember little of what had happened.

Here little is a determiner/pronoun (in contrast to "Little did he know" where little is an adverb) and the use of of is required.

  • I think this is a good answer, but it seems to me here the semantics of the sentence determines its syntax, not the other way around. That is to say, the meaning of the sentence dictates the use of of. of itself is not required per se. "Little did he remember what had happened" is a perfectly valid sentence.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 13, 2020 at 16:59

"Little did he remember of what happened" is another way of saying, "He remembered little of what happened" (that is, he did not remember very much of what happened).

"Little did" sentences are common in literary English, but not heard much in spoken English. "Little did" is frequently paired with "know"—for example, "Little did he know that his actions would have terrible consequences." This is a literary device that means that the narrator of the story knows that something terrible will happen, but the character does not.

  • Thank you for your reply but my question is focused on the problem of the preposition "of". Why is it used? I am not aware that "remember of" is the phrasal verb.
    – bart-leby
    Apr 13, 2020 at 17:07
  • 1
    Sorry, I should have been more clear in the first part of my answer. The "of" is there because the sentence inverts the words, "He remembered little of what happened." Technically, this is called inversion after an adverb.
    – SarahT
    Apr 13, 2020 at 20:06

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