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He took a little exercise and wasn't very fit.
He took little exercise and wasn't very fit.
She took little exercise and felt much better.
She took a little exercise and felt much better.

Little means not much and emphasises the smallness of the amount. It's distinguished from a little which means at least some.

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Adam found a ring in the street
Adam found one ring in the street.

Don't use the numeral one instead of the indefinite article a or an. Use one only where the number is emphatic: He gave me one book instead of two.

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You should keep your hands clean.
You should keep your hands clear.

Clean is the opposite of dirty. Clear means transparent or unclouded: clear water, a clear sky.

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I was sorry to hear of her death.
I was angry to hear of her death.

Sorry is the opposite of glad. Angry means annoyed or enraged: He was angry when a boy hit him in the face.

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Look at this dog across the street!
Look at that dog across the street!

This is used to indicate something physically close to the speaker. In the case of abstract things we use this for things which are most immediately present. This is a lovely song! I'll help you do it this time. When we talk about more than one thing we use this for the closer or more immediate and that for the further away or more remote in time. If we're only talking about one thing we usually use that: What's that noise? That's a nice coat! Don't do that!

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