a\ few


a\ few
noun or adj
A small number (of people or things); some.

The dry weather killed most of Mother's flowers, but a few are left.

In the store, Mary saw many pretty rings and bracelets, and she wanted to buy a few of them.

After the party, we thought that no one would help clean up, but a few couples did.

Alice wanted to read a few pages more before she stopped.

- Usually "a few" is different in meaning from "few", which emphasizes the negative; "a few" means "some", but "few" means "not many".

We thought no one would come to lunch, but a few came.

We thought many people would come to lunch, but few came.

- But sometimes "a few" is used with "only", and then it is negative.

We thought many people would come to lunch, but only a few came.

- Sometimes used like an adverb.

Three students have no seats; we need a few more chairs.

If we can set up chairs faster than people come and sit in them, we will soon be a few ahead.

- Sometimes used with "very" for emphasis.

Uncle Ralph gave away almost all of his sea shells, but he still had a very few left.

Compare: a little Contrast: a lot, quite a few

Словарь американских идиом. — СПб., Изд-во "Лань". . 1997.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 and far between — Very rare • • • Main Entry: ↑few * * * few and far between phrase not happening very often or not existing in many places Opportunities for promotion are few and far between. Thesaurus: rarely and not oftensynonym …   Useful english dictionary

  • few and far between — {adj. phr.} Not many; few and scattered; not often met or found; rare. Used in the predicate. * /People who will work as hard as Thomas A. Edison are few and far between./ * /Places where you can get water are few and far between in the desert./… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • few and far between — {adj. phr.} Not many; few and scattered; not often met or found; rare. Used in the predicate. * /People who will work as hard as Thomas A. Edison are few and far between./ * /Places where you can get water are few and far between in the desert./… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • 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 Lights Till Night — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Few Lights Till Night» Sencillo de Dragon Ash Lado B « Stir Sleep Tight » Publicación 27 de septiembre de 2006 …   Wikipedia Español

  • 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


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