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Quantifiers A Few A Little

What are quantifiers? How many is a few? What is the difference between few and a few?

Quantifiers – a few – a little


1) Quantifiers are adjectives and adjectival phrases that give approximate or specific answers to the questions ‘How much?’ and ‘How many?’.

Sorry, but there isn’t much left for you to do here.
2) To answer the questions ‘How much?’ and ‘How many?’ certain quantifiers can be used with countable nouns (chairs, apples), while others can be used with uncountable nouns (tea, money).

How many cousins do you have? (countable)
How much money did you spend? (uncountable)

Note that how much can also be used when we want to know the price of something. In this case, we can use how much with countable nouns (both singular and plural nouns).

How much does this dress cost?

A few, a little, (very) few, and (very) little are generally used in affirmative statements, not negatives or questions.

Look at the following chart demonstrating the differences between a few, a little, (very) few, and (very) little.

Used with countable nouns (chairs, apples)
Used with uncountable nouns (tea, money)
(very) few = hardly any or not enough
(very) little = hardly any or not enough
I’ve got (very) few friends. I need to be
more outgoing.
We have (very) little tea left. I doubt that
it will be enough for 6 cups of tea.
a few = some or enough
a little = some or enough
I know that I’ve got a few friends but
they’re the best!
We have a little tea left. Shall I make you
some tea then?

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