Little to No

A discussion of word histories and origins.
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Grand Panjandrum
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Little to No

Postby Slava » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:29 pm

Why do we say "little to no", and not "no to little"?

Any ideas?

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Grand Panjandrum
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Postby gailr » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:07 pm

In comparisons of this type, the language is reflecting a nuance of scale, in this case, looking at a range of probable chances. "Little to no starts" with some chance -- in this case, little -- and ends with no chance, emphasizing the hopelessness of the endeavor.

Saying "no to little" would imply starting with no chance at all and ending with hope of some chance, with the implication that there is possibility, although small.

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Postby Perry » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:48 pm

And yet, our supersize society does often say "no to little". But that is an entirely different matter.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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