Few, a few, little, a little
Few / a few, little / a little are quantifiers. Here is how to use them correctly:
|Few, a few|
|A few is more than few.|
|We use a few and few + a plural countable noun.||few people, few books, few letters
a few people, a few books, a few letters
|A few is a positive idea.||Fortunately, our financial situation is good: we still have a few good customers.|
|Few is a negative idea. It means 'almost none'. We can also use very few.||I'm very sad: I have few good friends.
I'm very sad: I have very few good friends.
(Both these sentences mean ‘I don't have many good friends - I would like to have more’.)
|A few and few have irregular comparative and superlative forms.||few ⇒ fewer ⇒ the fewest
a few ⇒ more ⇒ the most
|Little / a little|
|A little is more than little.|
We use a little and little + an uncountable noun.
a little time, a little food, a little money
little time, little food, little money
A little is a positive idea.
It means 'some but not much'.
I can help you: I speak a little English.
Little is a negative idea.
It means 'nearly none, nearly nothing'.
We can also use very little.
I can't help you. I speak little English.
I can't help you. I speak very little English.
(Both these sentences mean My English is bad. I would like to speak English better.)
|A little and little have irregular comparative and superlative forms.||
little - less - the least
a little - more - the most
|Practise this grammar (intermediate level): Few, a few, fewer, little, a little, less – exercise|