English grammar - few and little

- - Few and little


Form

(a) few + plural countable noun
(a) little + uncountable noun

Meaning

  1. We use a few and a little to mean a small quantity or a small number.
    • I have a few friends.
      a small number
    • I have a little money.
      a small amount
  2. We use few and little to mean not enough, or to give the small quantity/number a negative meaning.
    • I have few friends.
      a small number, and I wish I had more
    • I have little money.
      a small amount, and I wish I had more
  3. Few and little without a are quite formal. In spoken English it is more common to say only a few/little or not much/many.
    • Few people came to the meeting - more formal
    • Only a few people came to the meeting - less formal
    • Not many people came to the meeting - less formal
  4. If we use a few or a little before a pronoun or determiner, we use of.
    • A few of them went to the cinema.
    • He only kept a little of his money with him.


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