For instance, in the sentence
I have not too much money to pay for the dinner
Do the sentence have a similar meaning with
I just have a little money to pay for the dinner
I have little money to pay for the dinner ?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
It depends on what you want to say. None of them sounds perfectly natural.
If you want to say that you'd like to go out to dinner, but that you need to be frugal when choosing the restaurant:
I have only a little money for dinner.
I don't have much money for dinner.
You can have too little money. But we wouldn't say "*I don't have too much money with me". We wouldn't negate the "too" in order to mean "not enough". The only time we'd say something like that is if we were accused of carrying around too much money on our person.
Why are you carrying $20,000 in cash? That's too much money to be carrying around!
--I'm a billionaire. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not carrying too much money.
The dinner would not be idiomatic there. The would refer to a specific dinner. For example, if you are discussing with your daughter how much you can afford to spend for her wedding celebration, you might say:
I have only a little money for the dinner.
After renting the hall, and paying for the band, and the flowers, I don't have much money left for the dinner. Do you want to get a DJ instead of a live band, so we'll have more money to spend on the dinner?
I have not too much money to pay for the dinner.
The grammar is flawless, but it doesn't sound very natural to my ear. It sounds more natural to put the "not" on the verb:
I don't have too much money to pay for the dinner.
The "too" makes sense, but "very" sounds more natural here. "Too" seems too strong.
I don't have very much money to pay for the dinner.
The definite article is only natural if we have already been discussing a specific dinner. If this is the idea of dinner in general, no article is needed.
I don't have very much money to pay for dinner.