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Unit 6.1

A few vs A little and Few vs Little

Determiners

A few/a little and few/little are quantifiers which mean not enough or some/enough.

The use of these quantifiers depends on the noun:

POSITIVE ATTITUDENEGATIVE ATTITUDE
PLURAL COUNTABLEa fewfew
 SINGULAR UNCOUNTABLEa littlelittle
  • We have a few beautiful beaches for swimming.
    Few
    beaches are suitable for swimming
    .
  • We can bake a cake! We have a little flour.
    We can’t bake a cake! We have (very) little flour.

A few and a little mean some, enough. They show that something is more than expected or still remains.

Few and little mean not enough, less or fewer than expected. They show that there is not a lot of something, there is a lack of something.

A few/few and a little/little all mean some.

  • Plural countable nouns: a few (positive) and few (negative);
  • Singular uncountable nouns: a little (positive) and little (negative).

For example:
— “I have a few pencils in my bag, I do not need to buy new ones.” / “I have few pencils in my bag, I have to buy new ones.
— “There is a little milk in the fridge, we can make a cake.” / “There is little milk in the fridge, we need to go to the supermarket.

When they’re preceded by a, the meaning is positive and is suggesting that something still remains; without the article, it suggests that there is not a lot of something.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

License

A few vs A little and Few vs Little Copyright © 2018 by books4languages. All Rights Reserved.