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USING A FEW AND FEW; A LITTLE AND LITTLE

USING A FEW AND FEW; A LITTLE AND LITTLE

Date: Oct 12 2008

Topic: Grammar

Author: nad1a

Lesson

MySpace Tracker There are two ways to understand the difference between the meanings of those words. We can separate them into two groups:


- used with count/ non-count words (showing a number or a quantity)

- used with a positive or a negative idea;


Generally, few and a few are used with count nouns, therefore describing how big or small the number of things is.


For example:

Few people came to the party. (talking about the number of people)

I have already talked to a few people. (talking about the number of people, again)


On the other hand, little and a little are used with non-count nouns, that is, such that we can't express in number but in quantity, as an amount.


For example:

I have little milk in the fridge. It's almost finished. (talking about the amount of something, as milk is measured in some quantity, not in number)

I ate just a little. I don't eat much in the evening. (talking about the quantity of food, food is not measured in numbers, neither)


Got it?


Well, this is one way to look at them. Another way is, the connotation they bear. In general, they all mean a small number (few, a few) or a small amount (little, a little).

But in the case of


a few

a little


we have a positive idea. That is, we mean the number or amount of something is satisfactory. Maybe not so many or not so much, but enough.


Consider these examples:


She has been here only two weeks, but she has already made a few friends.

(Positive idea: She has made some friends already.)


I'm very pleased. I've been able to save a little money this month. (Positive idea: I have saved some money instead of spending all of it.)


A few/ a little give a positive idea; they indicate that something exists, is present, as in the examples above.


 

 

In comparison,


few

little


are used to express a negative idea. We mean unsatisfactory number or amount of something, not enough


Consider the examples:


I feel sorry for her. She has (very) few friends.

(Negative idea: She does not have many friends; she has almost no friends.)


I have (very) little money. I don't even have enough money to buy food for dinner.

(Negative idea: I do not have much money; I have almost no money.)


Note: the use of very (+few/little) makes the negative stronger, the number/amount smaller.

Comments

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Sonatele

Sonatele

Lithuania

It’s really valuable

09:36 AM Aug 10 2009 |

esz8

esz8

Saudi Arabia

Thanks a lot for this lecture

 

05:25 AM Aug 08 2009 |

Ryan Yam

Hong Kong

The couples have little experience of investment.They lost half of their properties during economic tsunami.

They are able to give a little mannual support if time is allowed.

01:31 AM Aug 07 2009 |

sachin9sharma

India

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06:52 AM May 21 2009 |

pripces

Turkey

ı got it in the end!!

05:28 AM Mar 05 2009 |

just a person

United Arab Emirates

that was nice !

thank ya

02:53 AM Feb 07 2009 |

just a person

United Arab Emirates

that was nice !
thank ya

02:57 AM Feb 06 2009 |

Miss_gorgeous

United Arab Emirates

coool and nice lesson i like it

lol

thanks

01:13 PM Jan 28 2009 |

xixixismile

China

Smile,i will keep it in my mind !thxs!

06:14 AM Jan 28 2009 |

kukuka

kukuka

Ukraine

exactly so!

05:05 AM Jan 28 2009 |

nad1a

nad1a

Greece

well, kukuka

the only way to remember something is to be using it frequently. the more you practice it the more natural it becomes at some point, so that you won't have to think about it, but just use it instinctively

:-)

04:54 AM Jan 28 2009 |

kukuka

kukuka

Ukraine

well…read and forget

03:28 AM Jan 28 2009 |

ch3rrybl0ss0m

France

that's a great lesson. those are very confusing words.

thanks

11:40 AM Jan 27 2009 |

shad84

shad84

United States

a pretty good lesson…....thanks NAd1A

02:54 PM Jan 06 2009 |

shad84

shad84

United States

THE FEW THE PROUD…..............UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS…..............

02:54 PM Jan 06 2009 |

santhiya2009

India

nice lesson.i knew very much matters from your lessons

09:16 PM Jan 05 2009 |

Amido Hernan Rios

Colombia

I'm right with its use in different ways because it's very easy wrong in this cases. Therefore these words are very necessary in many situations.

Thank you for your lesson nad1a.

Of 1 to 10. I give you "10"

07:07 AM Jan 01 2009 |

ullakhan@gmail.com

India

It's very interesting to know about this type mistakes oftenwe do.  

08:44 PM Dec 02 2008 |

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