What are the differences among great, large and big?

1 Answer


Master 7320

Big and large are used mostly with concrete nouns – the names of things you can see, touch etc.

  • They have a big/large house in the city.

Great is used mostly with abstract nouns - things you cannot see, touch etc.

  • It was a great mistake.

  • I have great respect for her ideas.

Big can be used with countable abstract nouns in an informal style. Large is not used with abstract nouns.

  • You are making a big mistake. (NOT …a large mistake.)

With uncountable concrete nouns, none of these words can be used.

  • You have got a lot of luggage. (NOT … big/large/great luggage.)

Reference: Practical English Usage by Michael Swan Published By Oxford University Press

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