On the mathematics stackexchange site, I wrote:

If you are certain that those earlier in the order will collectively reach a correct decision then you weight your vote so small that you do not affect the collective vote, while if you are not certain then you weight your vote so large that it will overwhelm the votes of all those earlier in the order.

For reasons I cannot quite explain, I am not comfortable with the use of small and large there. I could have used lightly and heavily, which are adverbs, but I felt that would have been pushing the weighting metaphor further than is usual in this mathematical sense. But smally and smallly are not words, while largely means something more like mostly. I would not use the Trumpian big-league or bigly and presumably little-league or littlely.

I could have rewritten this to something like "... you give your vote a weight which is so small that ...", but my question here is about whether there are adverbs directly corresponding to small and large.

  • Use size instead of weight; the extra metaphor (gravity is not actually involved here) adds extra conditions. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 17:37
  • How about 'tiny' and 'great'? Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 17:57
  • I'm not quite clear on what your question is here . . . Are you asking why small and large don't work here? Grammatically they do. Stylisitically you're mixing metaphors weight and size. Are you asking which is better light/heavy vs small/large? B/c that's POB. Overall, weighting your vote should probably follow light/heavy only b/c it's the same metaphor. But, that's my opinion.
    – David M
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 19:27
  • @DavidM I am indeed in part asking if small and large are adverbs and can as such here. I did in fact do so, but did not feel comfortable when I did
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 0:50
  • insignificantly and substantially
    – tblue
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


weight your vote so LIGHTLY. weight your vote so HEAVILY.

That's not overdoing it, it's English.

Or rewrite it.

  • Hi Fred, welcome ELU. This answer is not quite what we prefer on this type of site. Rather, we'd expect an explanation for why you feel that these are preferable to the OP's original choices. Preferably this would also include some sort of reference where possible.
    – David M
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 19:23
  • 1
    OP does say in the question that these terms were considered, but they are not right. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 19:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.