I think "quite a few" can be used in two ways. When it's used literally, it clearly gives us an upper bound to the number of objects it describes. It's definitely not "very many" then. It's "fairly many".
It can also be used ironically:
- Mom, I will be a millionaire when I grow up!
- Suzie, quite a few people people said it before...
Here, mom obviously means "very many" but she uses "quite a few" for effect.
"Many" doesn't seem to have these shades of meaning. It's just the very basic concept of numerousness.
It's just my opinion; I'm not completely convinced it's right.
Last edited by birdeen's call; 19-Jan-2011 at 00:56.