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I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I think "bit" is used more in informal speech. I think to avoid this kind of confusion?

He is a bit cuckoo. (Crazy.)

He is a little cuckoo. (Bird.)

Or maybe I'm wrong and "little" is as common as "bit" in informal speech (when used as in my example sentence)?

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  • Both sentences are natural. The second one is ambiguous, because it would more likely mean "crazy" rather than a bird.
    – gotube
    Aug 17, 2021 at 22:11

1 Answer 1

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The (possible) confusion between your two examples arises because of the two different meanings of "cuckoo":

crazy. (informal, colloquial)

a bird. (formal, actual, literal)

If you were to choose a different adjective, the situation would be slightly different:

She is a bit confused.

She is a little confused.

In each of these two sentences, the meaning is unambiguous, and the choice between "bit" and "little" has more to do with culture, dialect, or personal preference than with formality. "Bit" is more common in British usage, while "little" is more common in the U.S.

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