(comparative fewer; superlative fewest) grammar word summary: Few or a few can be: ■ a determiner: Few people live there now. ♦ There were a few animals in the barn. ■ a pronoun: Many have tried, but few have succeeded. ♦ A few of the visitors left early. Few can be: ■ an adjective: Her few decent clothes were now dirty.
1) some, but not many
I spoke with a few colleagues about it.[/ex]
I'm not sure how many I'll need, so give me a few more.[/ex]
Everything is expected to change in the next few years.[/ex]
Clean the cage every few days.[/ex]
A few of the plates were chipped.[/ex]
2) very small in number
Few managers attend the meetings.[/ex]
Why were there so few women in Parliament?[/ex]
We get very few complaints of racial discrimination.[/ex]
Few of the companies offer a home delivery service.[/ex]
Poe is among the few to have tackled this question.[/ex]
A few usually has a positive meaning and refers to a number of people or things that is not very large: I've got a few questions for you. Few usually has a negative meaning and refers to a number that is smaller than you would like or expect: Very few people came to her party. Few is rather formal when used in this negative way and in spoken English it is more usual to say not many.
few and far between — not happening very often, or not existing in many places[/ex]
Opportunities for promotion are few and far between.[/ex]
quite a few — a fairly large number of people or things[/ex]
The letter arrived quite a few days ago.[/ex]
Both fewer and less can be used to refer to an amount that is smaller than another amount. ■ Use fewer before plural nouns: Fewer people came than we expected. ♦ There are fewer restaurants in the area these days. ■ Use less before uncountable nouns: It took less time than I thought. ♦ You should use less paint.

Dictionary for writing and speaking English. 2014.

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  • few — W1S1 [fju:] determiner, pron, adj comparative fewer superlative fewest [: Old English; Origin: feawa] 1.) [no comparative] a small number of things or people a few ▪ I have to buy a few things at the supermarket. ▪ Pam called to say she s going… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • few — [ fju ] (comparative fewer; superlative fewest) function word, quantifier *** Few can be used in the following ways: as a determiner (followed by a plural noun): Few people live there now. There were a few animals in the barn. as a pronoun: Many… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Few — (f[=u]), a. [Compar. {Fewer} (f[=u] [ e]r); superl. {Fewest}.] [OE. fewe, feawe, AS. fe[ a], pl. fe[ a]we; akin to OS. f[=a]h, OHG. f[=o] fao, Icel. f[=a]r, Sw. f[*a], pl., Dan. faa, pl., Goth. faus, L. paucus, cf. Gr. pay^ros. Cf. {Paucity}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • few — ► DETERMINER , PRONOUN , & ADJECTIVE 1) (a few) a small number of. 2) not many. ► NOUN (the few) ▪ a select minority. ● few and far between Cf. ↑few and far between …   English terms dictionary

  • few — (adj.) O.E. feawe (plural; contracted to fea) few, seldom, even a little, from P.Gmc. *faw , from PIE root *pau few, little (Cf. L. paucus few, little, paullus little, parvus little, small, pauper poor; Gk. pauros …   Etymology dictionary

  • few — [fyo͞o] adj. [ME fewe < OE feawe, feawa, pl., akin to OFris fē, Goth fawai, pl. < IE base * pōu , small, little > L paucus, Gr pauros, little] not many; a small number of [few seats were left, a few people came] pron. not many; a small… …   English World dictionary

  • FEW — bezeichnet einen 1/8 bis 2/8 bewölkten Himmel, siehe Bewölkung#Einteilung Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch Freiburgische Elektrizitätswerke, siehe Groupe E Frostigs Entwicklungstest der visuellen Wahrnehmung, siehe Marianne Frostig das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • few — 1. Few may be used with or without preceding a, although the sense is slightly different. There were few seats left means there were not many (and is negative in implication), whereas There were a few seats left means that some were still left… …   Modern English usage

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  • Few of Us — (lituanien : Mūsų nedaug) est un film lituanien réalisé par Sharunas Bartas, sorti en 1996. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • few — [adj] hardly any exiguous, few and far between*, imperceptible, inconsequential, inconsiderable, infrequent, insufficient, lean, less, meager, middling, minor, minority, minute, negligible, not many, not too many*, occasional, paltry, petty,… …   New thesaurus

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