a few

adjective
more than one but indefinitely small in number (Freq. 138)
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a few roses

-

a couple of roses

Syn: ↑a couple of
Similar to: ↑few

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phrasal
chiefly dialect : to some degree or extent : a little

we'd already made out that he could ride a fewSmart Set

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a few
1. A small number (of), used as a noun, or virtually a compound adjective
2. Also facetiously as an adv, a little
• • •
Main Entry:few

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used in front of nouns
Few and a few are both used in front of nouns, but they do not have the same meaning.
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You use a few simply to indicate that you are talking about a small number of people or things. When you use few without `a', you are emphasizing that there are only a small number of people or things of a particular kind.
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So, for example, if you say `I have a few friends', you are simply saying that you have some friends. However, if you say `I have few friends', you are saying that you do not have enough friends and are lonely.

A few children were playing in the road.

Few children will be able to cope with the long journeys.

They may have a few books on the shelf.

There were few books in Grandfather's study.

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used as pronouns
Few and a few can be used in a similar way as pronouns.

Each volunteer spent one night a week in the cathedral. A few spent two.

Many are invited but few are chosen.

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'not many'
In conversation, people do not usually use few without `a'. Instead they use not many. For example, instead of saying `I have few friends', people usually say `I haven't got many friends' or `I don't have many friends'.

They haven't got many good players in their side.

I don't have many visitors.

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You do not use few or a few when you are talking about a small amount of something. You do not say, for example, `Would you like a few more milk in your tea?' You say `Would you like a little more milk in your tea?' See entry at ↑ little - a little.
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Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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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