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    #1

    <the> few exceptional people

    Green Goblin tells Spider-Man:
    -- There are 8 million people in this city, and those teeming masses exist for the sole purpose of lifting the few exceptional people onto their shoulders. You and me, we're exceptional.
    Spider-Man, movie

    I think that by "the few exceptional people" here refers to the two specific people -- himself and Spider-Man.

    If he'd said "few exceptional people" instead, without the article, it would be about unspecified few people, and in this case, in the next sentence ("You and me, we're exceptional.") he would reckon himself and Spider-Man among the category of "few exceptional people". Am I correct?
    Thank you.


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    #2

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    He is saying that there is a very limited number of exceptional people and that the two of them are two of them.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    I take it to mean '... lifting the few exceptional people, e.g. you and me, onto their shoulders'.

    I think 'the few' must be more than two.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    He is saying that there is a very limited number of exceptional people and that the two of them are two of them.
    Yes, I understand that, but I asked particulary about the difference between two options: with the article (as it is in the original), and the hypothetical option without the article...

    x-posted with Matthew Wai


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    #5

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I take it to mean '... lifting the few exceptional people, e.g. you and me, onto their shoulders'.

    I think 'the few' must be more than two.
    If so, why to use the article before "few"?


  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    I think Green Goblin had a few exceptional people in mind, and 'the few exceptional people' referred to these few people, among whom were Green Goblin and Spider-Man.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    It means that small number of exceptional people among the eight million people in the city.

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    #8

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    If it says "lifting few exceptional people" it means only a small number of the exceptional people (out of a larger group of exceptionals).

    Since it says "lifting the few exceptional people" it is stating that there is a specific group of exceptional people, but that their numbers are small.

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    #9

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    Quote Originally Posted by Vik-Nik-Sor View Post
    If he'd said "few exceptional people" instead, without the article, it would be about unspecified few people, and in this case, in the next sentence ("You and me, we're exceptional.") he would reckon himself and Spider-Man among the category of "few exceptional people". Am I correct?
    Thank you.
    No. ...For the sole purpose of lifting few exceptional people is ungrammatical. An article is required; had he said a few, he'd mean "a small number". By choosing the few, he emphasizes that he's talking about a select group.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: <the> few exceptional people

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    No. ...For the sole purpose of lifting few exceptional people is ungrammatical. An article is required; had he said a few, he'd mean "a small number". By choosing the few, he emphasizes that he's talking about a select group.
    Sorry, what's ungrammatical in it? "People" is a plural noun and doesn't require a determiner before itself. E.g.:
    It was embarrassing how few people attended the party.
    CALD


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