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Can someone please explain "every little helps" to me?

7 replies

mm22bys · 25/07/2008 16:23


This has been bugging me for years. I have argued about it with someone who assured me it was "correct English", but every time I see it, I have to ask myself, every little WHAT helps?

please explain....


OP posts:
snowleopard · 25/07/2008 16:28

Well it is using "little" in the sense of "bit"

As in Would you like some cake? Yes, just a bit - or just a little. So you can have "a little".

So "Every little" is the same as "Every bit".

And every bit (of money you can save, or of bargainacious generosity by a massive commercial conglomerat) helps you not be quite so poor.

I think

mm22bys · 25/07/2008 16:37

Thanks, not convinced though!

In your example, you are both talking about the cake, you are asking for a little CAKE, the cake is the noun, the "little" is the amount (so the adjective?).

I still think something is missing, but I am not unpersuadable that they are right!

Thanks though....

OP posts:
LyraSilvertongue · 25/07/2008 16:38

I agree with snowleopard.

plantsitter · 25/07/2008 16:40

You might ask me how much cake there was left, and I'd say 'very little' (because I'd probably eaten it all). Or you might say 'little has been done to solve the problem of overeating.' It just stands for 'not much of anything' or 'alittle bit of anything'

AnAngelWithin · 25/07/2008 16:42

my nan says 'every little helps....says the old lady who pee'd in the sea'

sorry I'll bugger off now

fembear · 25/07/2008 17:00

It is a standard phrase that can be wheeled out on many occasions, precisely because it is so vague. The WHAT is implied by its absence.
If it was 'every little bit of cake helps' then it would lose its ubiquity, non?

snowleopard · 25/07/2008 17:08

And yet be so much more universally true...

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