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Hi again. I'm Adam. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. Today's lesson is a little bit tricky. The
reason I say it's tricky is because we're talking about specific words that are often
interchangeable; that are often used in the same situations or same meanings. We're talking
about "small" versus "little", "big" versus "large", "tall" versus "high". Some students
asked: what's the difference between them? I'll do my best to explain the difference
between these words. First thing and the most important thing that
you need to remember about these words is that yes, they are synonyms -- means they
have almost the same meaning. What makes the difference in how to use them is always going
to be context. Okay? A lot of the difference in how to use these words depends on the context
they are being used in. Some expressions take this word or that word, and not the other,
for example. In some situations, the meaning is very different depending on which word
you use. Okay? So we're going to start with "small" and "little".
Okay? The main thing to remember and in most cases the biggest difference: when we talk
about "small", when we use "small", we talk about size, the size of something or its dimensions
-- dimensions are length, width, height, depth, etcetera -- or intensity. Okay? When we talk
about the intensity of something. So first of all, the thing to remember about this:
we're talking about physical size. When we describe something as "small", generally we
mean physically small, something physical is small. But again, sometimes we can use
"little" to talk about the physical size of something.
So for example: somebody has small hands or somebody has little hands. The nuance is a
little bit different, and this is what you have to be careful about, nuance. If somebody
has small hands, it means generally physical small but if somebody has little hands, it
has more of the idea that he or she can do less with their hands. True, not true - I
don't know; I'll leave that up to you. But just remember there's a slight nuance in difference.
But, if you look at somebody, say: "Oh, he has such little hands." Or if you say: "Oh,
that person has such small hands." Most people will get the same idea. But again, context
might tell you it's a little bit different. Okay. When I talk about intensity, again,
usually something physical like somebody has a small voice. If somebody has a small voice,
sometimes it's a little bit hard to hear them. Did you hear that? Did you hear my small voice
or do you hear my big voice now? But we'll get to that after.
Usually, we use "little" with uncountables; money, time. "I have a little money." Not
"small money". Small money means like in Canada, we have a dime, 10 cents, it's a very small
coin but that's not what we're talking about. "A little money", when we're talking about quantity.
So usually when you talk about uncountables -- things you can't count and you're not talking
about physical size because it's not something physical, physical things you can count -- uncountables,
not physical things, you usually use "small". If we talk about someone's stature... Now,
what does "stature" mean? It means more or less like how people view this person or this
thing. So look at the example. For example: if I say "A small man" versus "A little man".
A small man means usually physically small; maybe short, maybe skinny, whatever. A little
man is something... we don't care about this person. Right? He's small, I can step on him
because he's not... doesn't have stature. A big man has a bit more stature. A large
man is a large man, but we'll get to that in a second.
When we talk about adjective of degree. When we want... we use "little" almost like an
adverb. So: "I'm a little tired." Not small tired, a little tired. Or if you say... and
that means just a little bit. Right? Not a great amount. But if I say: "I'm a little irritated."
I'm a little irritated means like ugh, you know, somebody made me irritated.
Again, context will usually tell you that "little irritated" means very irritated.
"Ugh, I'm a little irritated." Means I'm pissed off, to be honest, but we use "little" to
make it softer. Okay? But, and another thing, again this usually
comes back to countables or uncountables. When we're talking about countables and we
want to talk about the quantity, like how much we have, we say: "We have a small amount
of something" or "We have a small number of somethings." Again, you usually use amount
with uncountables, you'll use number with countables. But for both, you can use: "A
small amount", "A small number of". But you would say "a little" with the uncountables.
"I have a little time.", "I have a small amount of time to give you.", "I have a small number
of friends." But here you won't use "little", you will use "few" for the countables. "I
have a few friends." Okay? So again, if you mix the two "small" or "little",
most people will understand the same thing that you want them to understand. But if you
want the detailed differences, this is basically it. There are other small various degrees
of difference; very, very nuanced. But again, context will usually make that clear --which
one you should use or which one, or why the one that is being used is being used. Okay?
It's not as clear when we talk about "big" and "large". Let's look at that now.
Okay, so now we're going to look at "big" and "large". This is a little bit more complicated
because "big" and "large" are almost the same... Have almost the same meaning. There're not
many situations where you can't interchange them. Okay? Some people think that "large"
is a little bit more formal than "big" but not necessarily. "Big" and "large" can both
be used to talk about size and dimensions; we mentioned dimensions before. But again,
it's all about context. Okay? Then again, the nuances that come from the context will
tell you which one you should or shouldn't use.
So for example: if you talk about "the big boss", the big boss is basically like the
CEO. Right? He's the president, the top guy. He's going to be the big boss, he's at the
top, he's the most. If you say: "The large boss", sounds a little bit strange if what
you mean is CEO or president. If you say: "The large boss", I'm thinking the fat one.
Okay? There're two or three bosses; there's the CEO, there's a president, there's a COO,
etcetera. You're talking about the "large boss" -- I'm thinking about the big burly
guy. Okay? So I wouldn't really say "big boss" if I mean heavy guy. I wouldn't say "large
boss" if I mean top guy. Now, let's look at this one. You're talking
about your brother. "My big brother" -- what does that mean? Generally, it means older,
my older brother, my big brother. Okay? And if you talk about your younger brother, "my
little brother". He's not physically small, he's younger. Okay? So it's the same idea.
If you say: "my large brother", again, you're talking about a big boy, bigger than you anyway
-- that's why you think he's large. And again, here we go about with amount or
number describing a quantity. I would say: "A large number of people came to the party.",
"A large number of stars are in the sky." Whatever, it's not a good example but it's
an example. I wouldn't say: "A big number" -- it just sounds a little bit strange. It's
not very common to say: "a big number". Again, not wrong. If you say: "A big number of people
came", everybody will understand. It's fine, but not commonly heard. But if you talk about
amount, again, more common: "a large amount of whatever", "a large amount of money was
spent." But you could say: "a big amount". Most people prefer to say "large"; it just
sounds a little bit better for whatever reason. Now, again, here you go: context. "Large business"
versus "big business". Okay? "Big business" you're talking about a big company or a big
industry. Okay? "Large business" means you do, it does a lot of traffic, a lot of trading,
a lot of sales and incoming/outgoing revenues, etcetera. So I can't tell you exactly there's
a difference between "big" and "large", it's about context: which one sounds better? Okay?
You could say: "a big house", you could say: "a large house", they will mean exactly the
same thing. So basically, be careful about the context. If it doesn't feel right, change
it to the other one but don't worry about using one or the other. And if you're doing
a test like TOEFL or IELTS, "big" and "large" in the essay will get you the same points.
"Large" is not a fancy word, it's just another way of saying "big". Okay? So the best I can
do for you with these two. "Small" and "little", they have some variations, "big" and "large",
not so much. Now, let's take a look at "tall" and "high".
Okay, so let's look at our last one here: "tall" and "high". This one should be a little
bit more straightforward. Okay? When we talk about tall things, generally it's, generally
it's always about physical things. Not always, there are certain exceptions but mostly it's
about physical things. And if you want to remember, think about things that are standing.
Okay? So a person, like for example myself, I am standing here and I am this tall.
If somebody this tall is next to me, then I am tall. If somebody is here, then I am short.
But it doesn't matter, by talking about a person and then we're talking about tall or
not tall. We don't say: "A person is high." If you say: "A person is high", he's probably
doing something very different than studying English.
Anyway, if we talk about "high", generally speaking, we talk about above average, above
others like it. Okay? So we're talking about high ground. Okay? So let's say you have,
this is sea level, this is called high ground; it's above the other ground around it, above
sea level generally speaking. We also use "high" to talk about ideas, things that are
ideas; they're not real, they're not physical. High cost, the high cost of living, a high
price. We would never say "tall" about these things because there's nothing to compare
them to. They're just an idea and they're high. Okay?
Position, for example: an official in government, he's a high official means he has a very high
rank. Or we talk about high culture, people who go to the opera and drink champagne and
drive in limousines, they live in a slightly higher lifestyle, higher culture, etc.
Something when you're reaching for a peak. So for example: travelling -- the reason you
don't want to travel in summer is because it's high season; prices are very high then.
We don't use "tall" for any of these things. Okay?
But, in some situations you can use either one. If you describe something or someone...
He, let's say for example: "He is 6 feet high." It sounds a little strange. You would say:
"He is 6 feet tall." But if you're talking about like a wall or a door, "The door is
6 feet high, six feet tall", both are okay. Okay?
Now, sometimes people mix these up. If we're talking about a building, some people say:
"It's a very tall building." Like: the World Trade Center is a very tall building. Some
people say: "It's a very high building." Again, depends which one you want to use. I, personally,
would use "tall building" because a building is standing, somebody built it, it is standing.
If you're talking about a mountain, I would say: "It's a high mountain." You could say:
"It's a tall mountain." But a mountain isn't standing, a mountain is sitting; it's been
there forever, it's sitting there. Nobody put it there, it's not moving so I consider
it sitting and therefore it's high. It's higher than the ground or the other mountains around
it. Okay? Again, context. Don't forget that. It's always
about context. Although the distinctions here are a little bit more clear. "Big" and "large",
not so much; "small" and "little", yes and no; "tall" and "high", more clear cut. Okay?
But again, if you need more practice go to www.engvid.com. There's a quiz there you can
try out. Also, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and come back again and
take some more lessons with us. Thank you.


6個簡單但容易混淆的單字用法(中英字幕)(6 confusing words - small & little, big & large, tall & high)

33201 分類 收藏
ABbla Chung 發佈於 2013 年 9 月 10 日    Alvin He 翻譯    Mandy Lin 審核
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