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  1. mohammad
    Guest
    #1

    english

    hi

    only(few,afew)decades ago,most people did not have tv sets.

    even late at night you can find(few,afew)people still working at their desks.

    is there any grammatical rule in this case?

    please help me

    yours.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: english

    Quote Originally Posted by mohammad
    Only (few, a few) decades ago, most people did not have TV sets. Even late at night you can find (few, a few) people still working at their desks.
    a few has a positive meaning: two or three, whereas few has a negative meaning: almost none or amost no one, like this,

    A few people take the bus. (two or three people)
    Few people take the bus. (almost no one)

  3. Mister Micawber's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 1,857
    #3

    Re: english

    The correct answer in both sentences is 'a few'. I think it is not primarily grammar, but vocabulary: ' a few' means 'some', while 'few' means 'not many'.

    'Few' is a negative word. 'Few people like me at work' is a very depressing statement.
    'A few' is positive. 'A few people like me at work' is suggests hope that there may soon be more.

    PS: Oh, hi Casi.

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: english

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Micawber
    think it is not primarily grammar, but vocabulary: ' a few' means 'some', while 'few' means 'not many'.

    PS: Oh, hi Casi.


    I concur. The distribution is related to semantics, not syntax. Both a few and few function as adjectives in that context.

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