I know there's an idiom "bit by bit".

The question is is it okay to say "bits by bits"? I mean people would understand the meaning but are they both considered idioms (is it a formal expression)?

Thank you

  • 4
    You could say "bits by bits" but it would be received as a novelty, an attempt at cuteness. If that is your aim, go ahead. But if you are not looking to draw attention to your statement, "bit by bit" will suffice.
    – Robusto
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


No, adding plurals would not be the same idiom. It would be considered an obvious error. 'Stone by stone', inch by inch', 'mile by mile', 'hour by hour', are all variants of that same idiom and all are used in the singular, no matter how many (bits, stones, inches, miles, or hours) you are referring to. Example; "While clearing their land for farming, early New Englanders built walls around their property lines stone by stone. Theses walls stretched for miles through forests and fields."

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