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a few - a little   &    few - little

Quantifiers "a few" and "a little" show the quantity of things or people. These expressions  have the meaning of  some or enough.

"a little" is used with uncountable nouns. (time, money, sugar, rice ...)

  • There is a little time left.
  • We have a little milk at home.

and "a few" is used with countable nouns. (books, cats, doors ...)

  • There are a few problems at work.
  • I have a few friends in this city.

Example Sentences:

  • I have a little money.

  • Sleep a few minutes.

  • We've had a few problems.

  • I gave the baby a little milk.

  • Janet asked a few strange questions at the meeting.

  • Sally is trying to lose a little weight.

  • We are going to meet a few friends after work.

  • The tourist need a little information.

  • I have a few friends at school.

  • I need a little time to finish it.

  • With a little training Sam can learn to do it.

  • You can repair your bicycle with a few simple tools.

  • We have a few problems with the new laptop.

few - little

There is a difference between a little / a few or little / few.

Few and little has the meaning of hardly any or not enough. Because of them, they usually have a limiting, negative meaning.

  • a little = some
    little = hardly any

    I need a little help. - I need some help.
    I need little help. - I need hardly any help.
  • a few = some
    few = hardly any

    A few students visited me. - Some students visited me.
    Few students visited me. - Hardly any students visited me.

Using little / few is very formal. We usually don't use them in everyday English. Instead, we use a negative sentence with much / many is common.

I need little help. = I do not need much help.
Few students visited me. = Not many students visited me.

Example Sentences:

  • There is little milk. We can’t make cake. (negative meaning)

  • There are few people. The meeting will be canceled.(negative meaning)

  • Paul is lonely man with few friends.

  • She couldn't translate it because she knew little English.

  • I cannot understand it. The program has little information about how to use.

  • We've had little rain this year. I think we won't have a good harvest.

  • Nobody likes Ann. She has few friends.

  • We must hurry. We have little time.

  • You are very lucky. You have few problems.

  • Dan has so little time these days. He has to finish the project on time.

  • This book is very boring. There is too little fun in it.

  • There are too few alternatives.

  • The school has so few women teachers.

in a sentence

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