few */*/*/


few */*/*/
UK [fjuː] / US [fju] determiner, pronoun
Word forms "few":
comparative fewer superlative fewest
Summary:

Few can be used in the following ways: - as a determiner (followed by a plural noun): Few people live there now. There were a few animals in the barn. - as a pronoun: Many have tried, but few have succeeded. There were a few who refused to go. (followed by "of"): A few of the visitors left early. Few of the pictures are any good.
The few can be used as a noun phrase: Private schools are for the privileged few.
Few can be used as an adjective: Her few decent clothes were now dirty.
Get it right: few:
Don't use a singular noun or an uncountable noun after few. Always use a plural noun:
Wrong: Few restaurant owner are satisfied, and most object to this regulation.
Right: Few restaurant owners are satisfied, and most object to this regulation. With uncountable nouns, use little (not few):
Wrong: TV, video and computer games leave few space for dreaming and imagination.
Right: TV, video and computer games leave little space for dreaming and imagination.
Wrong: Poverty is when a country has very few food.
Right: Poverty is when a country has very little food. Don't confuse few and little with a few and a little:
Wrong: Criminals can get permission to leave the prison for few days on holiday.
Right: Criminals can get permission to leave the prison for a few days on holiday.
Wrong: An e-mail will be received in few minutes.
Right: An e-mail will be received in a few minutes.
Few and little generally have a negative meaning, referring to amounts that are smaller than you would like them to be: At that time, there were few women in management positions. In the UK little work of any description seems to have been done on human behaviour.
A few and a little simply refer to a small amount or number: We're having a few friends over for dinner. The majority of injuries are superficial and, with a little care, heal quickly.
1) some, but not many
a few:

Outside there are only a few streetlights.

I spoke with a few colleagues about it.

There were a few who failed the test.

few of:

A few of the plates were chipped.

a few more:

I'm not sure how many I'll need, so give me a few more.

the first/last few:

I've only read the first few pages of the book.

the past/next few:

During the past few months, police have interviewed over 200 people.

Everything is expected to change in the next few years.

every few:

Clean the cage every few days.

2) used for emphasizing that a number of people or things is very small, especially when the number is smaller than you would like or expect

Few managers attend the meetings.

Bush won the election by fewer than 3000 votes.

The pictures were taken at one of his few public appearances.

She approached several people, but few were interested.

the car with the fewest mechanical problems

few of:

Few of the retail firms are offering a home delivery service.

the few:

Poe and his colleagues are among the few to have tackled this question.

The few times he did show up, he was late.

so few:

Why were there so few women in Parliament?

too few:

Too much money chasing too few goods causes inflation.

very few:

We get very few complaints of racial discrimination.

be few:

Their victories were few.

have had a few (too many)informal to be drunk

She sounded to me as if she'd had a few.

the (privileged) few — a small set of people who have more money, opportunities, or advantages than other people

A government should serve the many, not the few.

to name/mention but a few — used after mentioning a small number of people or things as examples of a larger group

We saw designs by Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, and Sonia Rykiel, to name but a few.

See:
less, precious II

English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • few — W1S1 [fju:] determiner, pron, adj comparative fewer superlative fewest [: Old English; Origin: feawa] 1.) [no comparative] a small number of things or people a few ▪ I have to buy a few things at the supermarket. ▪ Pam called to say she s going… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • few — [ fju ] (comparative fewer; superlative fewest) function word, quantifier *** Few can be used in the following ways: as a determiner (followed by a plural noun): Few people live there now. There were a few animals in the barn. as a pronoun: Many… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Few — (f[=u]), a. [Compar. {Fewer} (f[=u] [ e]r); superl. {Fewest}.] [OE. fewe, feawe, AS. fe[ a], pl. fe[ a]we; akin to OS. f[=a]h, OHG. f[=o] fao, Icel. f[=a]r, Sw. f[*a], pl., Dan. faa, pl., Goth. faus, L. paucus, cf. Gr. pay^ros. Cf. {Paucity}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • few — ► DETERMINER , PRONOUN , & ADJECTIVE 1) (a few) a small number of. 2) not many. ► NOUN (the few) ▪ a select minority. ● few and far between Cf. ↑few and far between …   English terms dictionary

  • few — (adj.) O.E. feawe (plural; contracted to fea) few, seldom, even a little, from P.Gmc. *faw , from PIE root *pau few, little (Cf. L. paucus few, little, paullus little, parvus little, small, pauper poor; Gk. pauros …   Etymology dictionary

  • few — [fyo͞o] adj. [ME fewe < OE feawe, feawa, pl., akin to OFris fē, Goth fawai, pl. < IE base * pōu , small, little > L paucus, Gr pauros, little] not many; a small number of [few seats were left, a few people came] pron. not many; a small… …   English World dictionary

  • FEW — bezeichnet einen 1/8 bis 2/8 bewölkten Himmel, siehe Bewölkung#Einteilung Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch Freiburgische Elektrizitätswerke, siehe Groupe E Frostigs Entwicklungstest der visuellen Wahrnehmung, siehe Marianne Frostig das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • few — 1. Few may be used with or without preceding a, although the sense is slightly different. There were few seats left means there were not many (and is negative in implication), whereas There were a few seats left means that some were still left… …   Modern English usage

  • Few of Us — Directed by Šarūnas Bartas Produced by Paulo Branco Joachim von Mengershausen Written by Šarūnas Bartas Starring …   Wikipedia

  • Few of Us — (lituanien : Mūsų nedaug) est un film lituanien réalisé par Sharunas Bartas, sorti en 1996. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • few — [adj] hardly any exiguous, few and far between*, imperceptible, inconsequential, inconsiderable, infrequent, insufficient, lean, less, meager, middling, minor, minority, minute, negligible, not many, not too many*, occasional, paltry, petty,… …   New thesaurus


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