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Section: 2 Word Families > Size and Amount

Chapter 8. Size and Amount

The English language provides a wealth of word choices that enable us to express ourselves in very precise ways. Variations in meaning from one word to another that seem slight or insignificant may have special importance when we need to communicate accurately and effectively.

In this lesson, you will learn to distinguish among words related to size and amount and to use them appropriately. Some of these words differ from one another in degree; that is, one word is slightly more or less of something than another. For example, tiny indicates something slightly smaller than small. Some words related to size and amount differ from one another because they are most often used in particular contexts. Wee, for example, is often used to describe elves or leprechauns (“the wee people”), or in Scottish dialogue referring to infants (“wee bairn”). Paltry is often heard in reference to money, as in “a paltry sum”—an amount of money that is not worth much.


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