folks! How are you? :)

Well, here's my question: Is there a way to contrast the words small/little and big to describe the same person/thing?

I found a thread in which I think the question was not answered properly and the author's idea is the same that I have:

How to establish a paradox, in an ironic way, without being offensive, to say to a small man, he's a little big man?

Is that (little big) right for this purpose? Maybe little great man would be better in this case (not sure): little in terms of size and great in terms of heart, intelligence, responsibilities or something else.

Another exemple:

How do I tell to my friends that I learned a small thing in English but that that implies in a big difference to my life?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    A big little man is different from a little big man, though... I'd also be careful drawing attention to someone's stature; whether they're taller, or shorter than average.
    – Margana
    Jul 4, 2015 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


One way (perhaps the simplest) to do this is to use a comma to separate the two elements, i.e., little, big man," Another way to express these paradoxical attributes is to use the conjunctive "but" to establish the contrast, as you have already done in your example, "I learned a small thing in English but that that implies in a big difference to my life."

Here, the conjunction "but" is used to contrast "a big difference" with "a small thing", and again, i.e., "short of stature but great of girth"

but conjunction: 1. used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.

synonyms: yet, nevertheless, nonetheless, even so, however, still, notwithstanding, despite that, in spite of that, for all that, all the same, just the same


  • Thank you, @Little Eva. Is this the only way? For me it seems to be quite formal and a long way to express the idea. Using a figure of speech seems to add more flow to the sentence.
    – razmth
    Jul 4, 2015 at 19:40

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