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    #1

    What the 'a' is going on here?

    Hello, wondering if someone might tell me if there is a grammatical definition of the subtle difference the word 'a' adds to the following sentences...

    1. 'We have few signs of the economy recovering'

    2. 'We have a few signs of the economy recovering'

    If read in a newspaper, the first sentence has a pessimistic feel to it, but with the addition of the 'a' it becomes an optimistic sentence. Is this a quirk of English language or is there a rule that deals with this type of alteration of meaning.

    Thanks

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What the 'a' is going on here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crashball View Post
    Hello, wondering if someone might tell me if there is a grammatical definition of the subtle difference the word 'a' adds to the following sentences...

    1. 'We have few signs of the economy recovering'

    2. 'We have a few signs of the economy recovering'

    If read in a newspaper, the first sentence has a pessimistic feel to it, but with the addition of the 'a' it becomes an optimistic sentence. Is this a quirk of English language or is there a rule that deals with this type of alteration of meaning.

    Thanks
    It is a common pattern in English.

    We have little time before the deadline. (pessimistic)
    We have a little time before the deadline. (more optimistic)

    We have few dollars to get through the weekend. (pessimistic)
    We have a few dollars to get through the weekend. (more optimistic)

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