a scap of , a spot of and a trace of

English Language Learners Asked by Tom messi on December 19, 2020

we got into a spot of bother with the police

Question: Can I use ‘a scrap of’ and ‘a trace of’ in lieu of ‘a spot of’ . WHy?

One Answer

No, you can't.

A spot of bother is an expression, meaning a little trouble, although the expression is often used ironically to mean a lot of trouble.

A scrap of..... (or a few scraps of) is generally, but not necessarily, used for food, indicating a very small amount.

A scrap - without the preposition - can also refer to a fight.

A trace of.... is most often used in reporting tiny amounts of a substance, especially those found on clothes or in medicines, compounds, food recipes and so on.

These distinctions are typical rather than required but, regarding your query, to write a scrap/trace of bother would not be idiomatic.

Answered by Ronald Sole on December 19, 2020

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