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    #1

    Question Usage of few

    Hi All,

    1. There are a few doctors in town.
    2. He had few reasons for his opinion.

    In the first sentence it has a few, but not in the second.

    Why can't we say-- He had a few reasons for his opinion.?


    Thanks.

  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Usage of few

    **Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.**

    Hi ihop,
    As far as I know they have different meanings:
    Few = You wish you had more.
    A few = You don't have many, but they are enough.
    I have a few friends. (I don't need or want more friends.)
    I have few friends. (I hope I will have some new friends soon.)

    So in your example:
    1. There are a few doctors in town. - It's okay, no one should die when s/he's sick.
    2. He had few reasons for his opinion. - He wishes he had have more, but there weren't more. -> So his opinion wasn't taken that seriously by others.

    Cheers!

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    #3

    Question Re: Usage of few

    Hi Nightmare85,

    It makes a lot of difference then.

    If I say "I have changed a few files"
    Does that mean I knew total files that need to be modified.

    And if I say "I have changed few files"
    I guess, this means I modified some files and I am not sure if there are more to be modified. So, the other person should understand that he needs to tell me all the file names that I missed(Unless he doesn't know the difference between few and a few)

    Please correct me if I misunderstood something.

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Usage of few

    Hello ihop,
    Yes, I believe you're right.
    However, if you say, "I've changed few files." it sounds to me like:
    "I was not able to change more files because..." (no time, no pleasure, etc.)

    "I've changed a few files." -> This should be enough, everything should run flawlessy now.
    (This is how I see it.)

    Let's see what the others will say

    Cheers!

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Usage of few

    Quote Originally Posted by ihop View Post
    Hi Nightmare85,

    It makes a lot of difference then.

    If I say "I have changed a few files"
    Does that mean I knew total files that need to be modified.

    And if I say "I have changed few files"
    I guess, this means I modified some files and I am not sure if there are more to be modified. So, the other person should understand that he needs to tell me all the file names that I missed(Unless he doesn't know the difference between few and a few)

    Please correct me if I misunderstood something.
    No, not at all.

    A few -- some. More than one, less than many. Not a specific number, but a small number.
    Few -- also some, but it emphasizes the smallness of the number.
    In both cases, you know how many (or roughly how many).

    A few files were affected by the flawed program. -- This is simply a statement. More than one, fewer than scores.
    Few files were affected by the flawed program. -- This is a good thing. Of all the files, a small number were affected.

    Few can be good or bad.
    She has few flaws. -- This emphasizes the smallness of the number. It's good to have a small number of flaws.
    She has few redeeming qualities. -- This also emphasizes the smallness of the number, but it's bad.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Usage of few

    Excellent examples. Thank you so much.

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    #7

    Re: Usage of few

    Well done, Nightmare.

    Your answers were excellent.

    Rover

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