Few & Little

Forming sentences with (a) few and (a) little

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

  1. A few and a little is used 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. Few and little is used 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.

Related grammar points

Small and little

Author picture


  1. Which one is correct?
    She has little time, does she?
    She has little time, doesn’t she?


Add a comment

Take Our Online Grammar Course

Learn all the grammar you need to feel confident as a teacher