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what money, what little time Options
onsen
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 9:07:14 AM
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Joined: 9/14/2017
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Hello,

Quote:
A. She gave him what money she had (=all the money she had, although she did not have much).
Longman

B. I spent what little time I had with my family.
Oxford Learner's Dictionaries


Q1:
Is this construction (what + uncountable nouns (e.g. money, time)) applied to countable nouns?

Q2:
In Sentence B, can the 'little' be omitted?

Thank you
Romany
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 9:24:34 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Onsen - when it's a countable noun we tend to use "what few": "What few coins she had in her purse she handed to the homeless person."

The use of "little" is to underline the fact that
a) what was given was not very much
b) though it may not have been much, it was generous considering how little there was to give.

Working parents, for example, may only have a few hours for leisure, but instead of spending them on the golf course, or going out with their own friends, those precious free hours are mainly spent doing things as a family.
onsen
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 9:35:18 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
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Romany wrote:
Onsen - when it's a countable noun we tend to use "what few": "What few coins she had in her purse she handed to the homeless person."

The use of "little" is to underline the fact that
a) what was given was not very much
b) though it may not have been much, it was generous considering how little there was to give.

Working parents, for example, may only have a few hours for leisure, but instead of spending them on the golf course, or going out with their own friends, those precious free hours are mainly spent doing things as a family.


Thank you very much, Romany, for your detailed explanation, Working parents,... in particular.
Romany
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 10:02:24 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,963
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Onsen - no worries. And yes, working parents don't get to spend much time at all being free to do what they want.
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