How to use Small & Little

Learn about the difference between “small” and “little” in English grammar. Clear and simple explanation of meaning and use, with examples.

Keith Taylor

Forming sentences with Small and Little

Small and little are both adjectives.

  1. Small is used to talk about the size of something.
    • Your cat is very small.
    • Can I have two small pizzas please?
  2. Little can be used in the same way as small to refer to size, but it can also be used with another adjective to express an emotion.
    • He’s a clever little boy.
    • Nobody’s looking after that poor little dog.

Additional points

In comparative and superlative form, small is more common in British English, and little is more common in American English.

  • That’s the smallest phone I’ve ever seen. (more common in British English)
  • That’s the littlest phone I’ve ever seen. (more common in American English)

Related grammar points

Few and Little

Keith Taylor

Keith is the co-founder of Eslbase and School of TEFL. He's been a teacher and teacher trainer for over 20 years, in Indonesia, Australia, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Poland, France and now in the UK.

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  • sondra white

    May small and little be used as if both adjectives are used together to define a single object?

  • Keith profile photo
    Keith Taylor

    Yes, you can use both adjectives together to define a single noun.

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