"Little" Vs "Few"

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"Little" Vs "Few"

Postby carolgreen876 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:58 am

The Words "little" and "few" mean the same .
What exactly is the difference between the two?
Till date I was of the view that "little" is used to denote uncountable quantity and "few" is used to measure "countable" quantity.
Any other differences between the two.
Please clarify.
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Re: "Little" Vs "Few"

Postby LCNadmin » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:16 pm

SINGULAR/PLURAL
If a noun is in singular, we use a little
Example:
a little money
If a noun is in plural, we use a few
Example:
a few friends

COUNTABLE/UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
Countable nouns have a singular and a plural form. In plural, these nouns can be used with a number (that's why they are called 'countable nouns'). Countable nouns take a few.

Example:
4 friends – a few friends
Uncountable nouns can only be used in singular. These nouns cannot be used with a number (that's why they are called 'uncountable nouns'). Uncountable nouns take a little.

Example:
3 money – a little money

WITHOUT THE ARTICLE
a little = some
little = hardly any

Example:
I need a little money. - I need some money.
I need little money. - I need hardly any money.
a few = some
few = hardly any

Example:
A few friends visited me. - Some friends visited me.
Few friends visited me. - Hardly any friends visited me.
Without the article, little / few sound rather formal. That's why we don't use them very often in everyday English. A negative sentence with much / many is more common here.

Example:
I need little money. = I do not need much money.
Few friends visited me. = Not many friends visited me.
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