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The sentence below is from my book. I know that "little" means a small amount. Does "very little" mean having no time at all or still having a very small amount of time?

Many people work long hours, leaving very little time for leisure activities.

A native speaker paraphrased the sentence to: "many people have experienced a loss of leisure time due to having to work long hours." That's why I thought "very little" might mean zero.

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  • I've answered, but could you expalin more why you suppose that "very little" could mean "none". Is it the context of the sentence?
    – James K
    Nov 6 at 7:11
  • Thanks, @JamesK. A native speaker paraphrased the sentence to: many people have experienced a loss of leisure time due to having to work long hours. That's why I thought "very little" might mean zero.
    – Learner110
    Nov 6 at 7:13
  • very little cannot mean none or no [something].
    – Lambie
    Nov 7 at 17:44

1 Answer 1

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It has no special meaning. "very little time" means "a small but non-zero amount of time"

Similarly if you lose leisure time, it doesn't imply that you lose it all. You can experience a loss of leisure time, but still have a little left.

But the paraphrase has a slightly different meaning. The paraphrase means "they have less leisure time than they had before" and the original means "now they have very little leisure time"

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. So, if I say I experienced a loss of money, that means I lost almost all my money but still have a little left? I don't even need to modify "loss". I mean, I don't need to say something like "a great loss"?
    – Learner110
    Nov 6 at 7:24
  • @Learner110 - If you have a loss of money (with no other words) you lose an unspecified sum of money. You can add some words to make it clearer, e.g. I had a large loss of money, I had a small loss of money. Nov 6 at 8:00
  • @MichaelHarvey, thank you very much for your comments. What about the use of "loss" in my original question? If I want to use "loss" to say very little leisure time, then I need words like "great" and say "experienced a great loss of leisure time"?
    – Learner110
    Nov 6 at 8:17
  • @Learner110 I've edited.
    – James K
    Nov 7 at 17:26

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