Few or Little

Monday, June 17, 2013

When talking about quantities, whether to use few or little might be unclear, but not after reading this blog post. Let’s get it right! Actually it’s just a matter of countable or uncountable nouns.

In a previous post I clarified the difference between fewer and less because it's a common confusion. So now let's look at few and little:

Once again, we have the uncountable nouns which we use with a little or little in the singular form.

Would you like a little ice in your Coke?
There is little time between flights.

We use a few or few for countable nouns in the plural form.

Do you have a few minutes to help me set up my new computer?
The concert was canceled because few tickets were sold.

A little and a few express a positive meaning while little and few convey a negative meaning.

I have a little cheese left. Would you like some? - positive
I have a few grapes to eat with the cheese. - positive

There is little wine left in the bottle. - negative
Carlo has few friends in the city. - negative

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