Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 641
    #1

    only few vs only a few

    Is the difference between 'only a few' and 'only few' only because of a grammar viewpoint? would you please tell me why we cannot say only few without 'a'?

  1. Roman55's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • France

    • Join Date: Feb 2014
    • Posts: 2,309
    #2

    Re: only few vs only a few

    I am not a teacher.

    You can say "few" without "a" but this will change the meaning.

    Consider these sentences:

    I have a few friends/a few of my friends = I have some friends/some of my friends.
    I have few friends/few of my friends = I don't have many friends/not many of my friends.

    Thus, "Only a few" means "only some" while, "only few" means "only a small number". In this sort of phrase you would often use "only very few".

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 641
    #3

    Re: only few vs only a few

    No machine will work for 70 years or more, day and night, requiring only air, water, food and ...... simple rules.

    What about this sentence? why do you say 'only a few' and not 'only few' ?

  2. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: May 2013
    • Posts: 1,099
    #4

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Because you can put "some" in the gap.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

  3. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,695
    #5

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Hello.
    Please allow me to ask a question.

    Is "No machine will work for 70 years or more, day and night, requiring only air, water, food and ...... simple rules" a natural English sentence?

    I find it a little strange. (I don't really understand what it means.)

    Thank you.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 7,799
    #6

    Re: only few vs only a few

    It may be less strange if "air, water, food" is replaced with "electricity, fuel, energy".

    Not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 524
    #7

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;
    It may be less strange if "No machine will work" is replace by "Humans live" or "human body work". It's a metaphor.


    Cheers.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 524
    #8

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Hi,
    Quote Originally Posted by Freeguy View Post
    No machine will work for 70 years or more, day and night, requiring only air, water, food and ...... simple rules.

    What about this sentence? why do you say 'only a few' and not 'only few' ?
    It's not grammar it's meaning in that sentence; it's more about what the author of that sentence intended to say.

    Cheers.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 7,799
    #9

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post
    It may be less strange if "No machine will work" is replace by "Humans live" or "human body work". It's a metaphor.
    How about "No human will live"?

    Not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 524
    #10

    Re: only few vs only a few

    Hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker,

    How about "No human will live"?
    Not really, I don't think it's the intended meaning of that sentence; as for me the sentence argues how robust and fuel-efficient is human/human body comparing to any machine hence the No machine [..].

    Cheers.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

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
  •