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Hi,
warning: I'm afraid this is a difficult question, I feel it in my bones.

Only 10 cars for our show? That's too few! We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!
Only 10 cars for our show? Those are too few! We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!
Only 10 cars for our show? That's too little! We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!
Only 10 cars for our show? <other expression> We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!


What do you think? I think the good one is "That's too few". I know I have to say "You got 10 gifts? Wow, that's a lot!" and not "Those are a lot!", so I think "That's too few" is the good one.
But I have another problem... What if I include the plural noun in the sentence? Like this:

Only 10 cars for our show? That's too few cars! We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!

Any opinions? Thanks Emotion: smile
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My choice would be 'That's not enough!'

I suppose That's too few would do but it just doesn't sound as natural to me.

Those are too few - really doesn't sound right.

That's too little - no, don't use this.

too few does sound better combined with 'cars' as in your last example.
Hi Kooyeen

I'd write: Only 10 cars for our show? That's far too few! We need a lot of cars for our show tomorrow!
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Even before I read Nona's response, I was thinking "That's not enough." If you need to be emphatic, "That's not nearly enough!"
Ok, thanks a lot.
Then it's because of "few" that you don't like that example... What if I change it this way:

One hundred cars for our show? That's too many (cars)! We wouldn't even have the money for fifty!

That should work though, right? Both including "cars" and leaving it out. And "those are" would not be ok, right?

Thanks again Emotion: smile

Another vote for "not enough," and yes, "that's too many" is fine. I'd leave out cars from the first sentence; you might stick it back in after "fifty," if you want to be crystal-clear.
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Thanks a lot, I see.

Well, I hope there's nothing wrong with adding "cars" in "That's too many"... I mean, if I wanted to say "Whoa! That's too many cars for our little show! Ten or so will be enough...", I guess it would be fine.

And another thing I am not sure now... you guys don't seem to like "too few", but I don't understand if that's because "too few" is not very idiomatic in those kinds of examples, or because "too few" is not very idiomatic in general.
So, can I use "too few" idiomatically, somehow? For, example: Nine cars are too few for our show.

Thanks again Emotion: smile
Hi,

I think it is a matter of degree. This is how I understand (the numbers are figurative):

Let's say we expect to have 100 cars.

1. Get 5 cars - far too few
2. Get 30 cars or so - too few
3. Get 60 cars - not nearly enough
4. Get 90 cars - not enough.
Hi Hoa,
yes, thanks. I don't think I have problems with that, the problem is that I wonder if there's something wrong with "too few" as a collocation, since the others said the examples I gave were not so good. So is it expressions like "That's too few" that don't sound good, or is it "too few" itself that is the problem?

That's too few (cars)!
There's too few (cars)!
Ten cars are too few!


If all of those sound bad, then it's "too few" that is to be avoided. Otherwise, there are only some expressions that are not idiomatic.
Thanks Emotion: smile
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