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    #1

    little and few (2)

    I found a bunch of little things to do before dinner.


    Hi,
    I wonder why 'little' has been used in this sentence instead of 'few' given 'little' is the right choice for uncountable nouns, please.
    Why not "few things to do"?.
    Thanks.

    PS: I found both on COCA. I wonder why both are possible.


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    #2

    Re: little and few (2)

    ...and 'a few little things to do around the house. I'll save the really big chores till I spring clean.''

    Remember:

    It is right to say that “little” should be used with uncountable things and “few” with countable ones


    When used with a countable noun, and when preceded by a definite or indefinite article, then 'little' means 'small in size' as in 'a little child', 'little children', 'a little puppy'
    Last edited by David L.; 08-Oct-2008 at 00:45.

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    #3

    Re: little and few (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    ...and 'a few little things to do around the house. I'll save the really big chores till I spring clean.''

    Remember:

    It is right to say that “little” should be used with uncountable things and “few” with countable ones


    When used with a countable noun, then 'little' means 'small in size' as in 'a little child', 'little children', 'a little puppy'
    Thanks.
    Your answer took me to another doubt, please. Why not "small things" instead of "little things"? "Small" carries a meaning that is different from "little", right?
    Thanks again.


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    #4

    Re: little and few (2)

    'small' refers specifically to size.
    'little' combines the sense of 'small' and 'relatively unimportant; trivial'

    So, I have a few little things to do in town implies that I am not doing anything of major importance, like the week's grocery shopping. I might just have to pick up a suit from the dry-cleaners and post a letter. They are 'small' in the sense of not requiring very much time; and also, just a couple of the routine everyday things we do - the trivial things necessary so that the major things run smoothly: I pick up the suit so I can wear it at a big wedding this Saturday.

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    #5

    Exclamation Re: little and few (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    'small' refers specifically to size.
    'little' combines the sense of 'small' and 'relatively unimportant; trivial'

    So, I have a few little things to do in town implies that I am not doing anything of major importance, like the week's grocery shopping. I might just have to pick up a suit from the dry-cleaners and post a letter. They are 'small' in the sense of not requiring very much time; and also, just a couple of the routine everyday things we do - the trivial things necessary so that the major things run smoothly: I pick up the suit so I can wear it at a big wedding this Saturday.
    I agree with David L. This can be very clear if we refer to an American novel titled "Little Things".
    Little Things is an original novel based on the U.S. television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The task of killing the vampire is entrusted to Buffy who has to figure out how to kill vampires that are smaller than her palm.

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