+0
Hello,

I would like to know the difference between saying "few" and "a few". Similarly "little" and "a little". In what context do these two separate expressions are used?

thanks

pradeep
1 2
Comments  (Page 2) 
Anonymous'Few' means none, and 'a few' means one or more than one.
same applies to the usage of the word 'little'.

Eg.

'I have little idea about what is going on.' This technically means 'I have NO idea'.
instead if the sentence is
'I have a little idea about what is going on' would mean 'I have SOME idea about what is going on'.

Hope this clear the doubt once and for all.

Anon, thanks for trying to help, but this is incorrect and misleading information.

"Few" does NOT mean none.

As was explained twice in the beginning of this thread, "few" emphasizes the smallness of the number (just as "little" emphasizes the lack of something) but does not mean "none." "A few" is simply an indication of a number that is greater than one or two, but not a high number.
Few does not mean "none".
I have few friends. - This means that I have do have friends, but a smaller number that I would like or expect to have. It is a statement with a tone of pity, regret, or sadness.

I have a few friends. - This means that I have more than one or two friends. It has no tone of regret or sadness.
'I have little idea about what is going on.' It means that I am aware of something going on, but don't know very much about the subject.

"I have no idea about what is going on." It means I am clueless, and might even be frustrated by my lack of knowledge.

"I have a little idea about what is going on." This could be used sarcastically, depending on the tone of voice. I might be an expert in the subject, and the people around me are less well informed, but not recognizing my knowledge.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Uh, okay, and with this addition we now have FOUR explanations of the same thing, so time to close the thread.