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15 Aug 2021 — A little bit

 

What does "a little bit" express in this context?

 

Protesters

“Gig workers — after becoming essential workers during the pandemic — were not given classification for something like health care. We saw a little bit of a dramatic reaction to it,” she says.. — source

 

Read all the options.
 

1.

We saw a little bit of a dramatic reaction to it.

2.

(speaker is avoiding controversy)

We saw (pardon my saying) a dramatic reaction to it.

3.

We saw (an excessively) dramatic reaction to it.

 

GLOSSARY

  • a bit (quantity expression/ degree adverb) – a small amount or degree; a little, slightly (before an adjective or adverb) It was a bit difficult. He acted a bit strangely. Modifiers of small degree are not usually used with words expressing a high degree (e.g., *a bit triumphant, a *bit damaged, *a bit fanatical, *a bit razor-sharp)
  • a bit of (quant expr., modifier) – a small amount of (before a noncount noun) We had a bit of difficulty. "some"
  • a bit of a (quant expr., modifier) – slightly (adjective + count noun) It was a bit of a difficult problem. He's a bit of a fool. "in some ways"
  • classification (N) – in this example, an employment class or title that is able to receive benefits such as healthcare and time off
  • controversy (N) – subject or topic about which people may have strongly differing opinions
  • dramatic (Adj) – behavior that is intended to be impressive so that people notice; highly effective; striking
  • essential (Adj) – necessary, needed
  • figurative expression (NP) – a word group that takes on a new meaning that is different from the individual dictionary meaning of each word in the group (e.g., He's off and at 'em. "energized")
  • gig workers (N pl.) – people who work for tech companies or in support of tech companies

GRAMMAR RESOURCE

  • Huddleston, Rodney D. and Geoffrey K. Pullum. "Degree as a kind of quantification." The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002. Ch. 8 §11 (d).
  • Swan, Michael. [a] bit. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005. §107.

QUOTE SOURCE

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