I have seen the following sentences to express that I have less money:

  1. I am a little short of money
  2. I am short of money
  3. I am somewhat short of money

I am not sure what the difference is between the above three sentences. Does it make any difference if I add little before short of money?
Also, what exactly does this mean?

  1. I have less money in my account
  2. I have to make some expenses, and I exceeded my budget (In this case, it may not mean that there is less money in my bank account, but that my expense ran out of budget)
  3. It could be a way of asking someone for a pending payment so that it creates a sense of urgency
  • 2
    "Short of money" is an adjective phrase, and "a little" and "somewhat" simply modify that phrase. Have you looked up "a little" and "somewhat" in a dictionary? Jul 2, 2022 at 17:52
  • @MarcInManhattan I checked it on the dictionary. So if I need my money back, I could tell the person, please transfer the amount asap as I am somewhat short of money. In this case, little won't be appropriate. Is that correct? I am short of money seems better when someone asks me questions and I can reply with this sentence. Let me know if my understanding is in the correct direction?
    – pensee
    Jul 2, 2022 at 17:59
  • 1
    You might be 'a little' short of a specific sum of money, otherwise it is like the BrE understatement "I am a bit short of money." Jul 2, 2022 at 18:09
  • It depends on how short of money you are. Just saying "short of money" has no qualifier. In your example sentences I don't know how short you are, so it's impossible for me to say whether "somewhat" or "a little" would work. Jul 2, 2022 at 18:09
  • 1
    If you are 'short of' something, you don't have as much of it as you need. It might be money, time or the right colour of paint to finish painting a wall. Jul 2, 2022 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


To some extent this question is asking for an opinion. If someone said to me

2 "I am short of money"

I would think they have insufficient funds to meet their current financial commitments, rent, bills, food.
On the other hand if they said

1 & 3 "I am a little / somewhat short of money"

I would understand that they probably had just enough money to cover their current debits but nothing to spare for a new venture / expense.

1 "I have less money in my account"

needs qualifying. On its own it is ambiguous. It should be something similar to

I have less money in my account [than I thought / than I had last week / than you / after paying all my bills].

2 "I have to make some expenses, and I exceeded my budget"

Is not quite right and again ambiguous. A BrE speaker would probably say
"I have to meet some expenses OR I have to make some payments and I have exceeded my budget."
They may have exceeded a project budget set by, say, some department or manger. They will have to apply for more funding. Or they may have exceeded their overall personal budget and become short of money.

3 It could be a way of expressing the desire for prompt payment, but it depends on how sympathetic you think your debtor is.

Again, this is the opinion of one BrE speaker, others may disagree and it may mean something different to an AmE speaker.

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