grammatical expression: a tad…

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Today I would like to write about the expression “a tad”. It basically has the same meaning as “a little”. However, we use “a tad” when we feel something is negative. For example:

Your report is a tad long. I think you’re going to have to make it shorter.

There was a tad too much spice in the soup. Next time, please don’t put so much in.

My apartment is a tad messy right now so I don’t want to invite anyone over.

My neighbors were being a tad too loud last night, so I went to their apartment and told them to be more quiet.

So, even though “a tad” literally means “a little”, it is sometimes used in a sarcastic way. Therefore, in my examples, the speaker thinks that the report was much too long, that there was much too much spice in the soup, that the apartment is much too messy and that the neighbors were being much too loud. We use “a tad” because it’s softer and it’s often seen as being humorous. When we are speaking, we usually emphasize the word “tad” to indicate that we’re being sarcastic.

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