Which adjective should I use with question, small or little?


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This question is related.

Elaborating (though I don't think that any more needs to be said), both small and little are fine to say.

The sentence is not using small or little as quantifiers, but rather to denote the size.

However, it is perhaps worth noting that little question is more popular.

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    That apparently massive preference for little question over small question intrigued me, since my natural inclination would be the other way. So I checked one little/small question, which suggests that small has gradually been gaining traction over the past century, and may even be ahead now. It wins in a Googlefight. Commented May 30, 2013 at 15:47
  • Small sounds more natural to me too Commented May 31, 2013 at 9:44
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    Strange. If we look at just the words little and small it seems little was twice as common a century ago in written contexts, but they're now pretty much equal. Given that small has significantly increased in relative prevalence overall, I'd tend to expect that trend to be even more marked in casual (more "flexible") contexts. And that's confirmed by the fact that on Google Internet small now beats little by a factor of 3:2. Commented May 31, 2013 at 14:12
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    ...in short, even if we find apparent evidence that "little question is more popular" as of now, the smart money would be on that no longer being true at some point in the near future. So if a young person is learning usage today, they'd be better going for what looks like it'll be the dominant form tomorrow, not yesterday. Commented May 31, 2013 at 14:15
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    Yes, the past isn't necessarily a guide to the future. But small has more going for it, I think. It's a bit irrelevant that it has one less letter, but surely the fact that it's got 50% less syllables would make it more attractive to lazy speakers (i.e. - most of us, most of the time). I personally normally enunciate little with a glottal stop, partly because I find the /t -> /l transition a little awkward. Score +1 to little, 'cos I couldn't say small awkward there. But +10 to small because I personally would virtually never want to use the comparative littler. Commented May 31, 2013 at 17:35

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