Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. keannu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Dec 2010
    • Posts: 5,226
    #1

    the few bright spots

    Does this "the few" denote positive, plus "a few" or negative, minus "few"? I mean you will see the difference between the two below, but "the few" is hard to define for me. I think it probably depends on context.
    1. I have a few eggs.- I have several or some eggs to use, and the number is kind of okay.
    2. I have few eggs - I almost have no eggs.

    33)In the middle of global economic hardship, many people lose their jobs, pushing the unemployment rate higher. But not all of those fired workers are sitting at home, browsing the want ads and waiting for the phone to ring. Some are heading back to school to equip themselves for a new career, making public colleges and universities among the few bright spots in a poor economy. In fact, some universities in the States are reporting double-digit growth in student registrations this year. University registration managers commonly say (that) seeing enrollments rise in a failing economy is not unexpected.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #2

    Re: the few bright spots

    "Few" refers to an unspecified number of something. It is more than one or two, but less than many.

    "I have a few eggs" is neutral -- just a fact.
    "I have few eggs" is a bit negative. It implies that the speaker wants to have more.

  3. keannu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Dec 2010
    • Posts: 5,226
    #3

    Re: the few bright spots

    So "the few" could be either "few" or "a few"?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 2,013
    #4

    Re: the few bright spots

    Some are heading back to school to equip themselves for a new career, making public colleges and universities among the few bright spots in a poor economy.

    not a teacher
    In this case it means "…among the small number of bright spots…". The context tells you that a larger number would be preferable.
    So it is a statement of fact with a tone of dissatisfaction/disappointment.

Similar Threads

  1. PV spots
    By unpakwon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Aug-2012, 13:16
  2. [General] come out in spots.
    By Silverobama in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 23-Apr-2011, 22:38
  3. unclear spots in a video
    By vectra in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 14-Apr-2011, 03:04
  4. [General] rough neighborhood/spots a fare/pull over/hyped
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Apr-2009, 10:40
  5. acne, spots, pimples
    By user_gary in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 16-Feb-2007, 18:54

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •