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English definition of “few”

few

determiner, pronoun, noun, adjective (NOT MANY)    /fjuː/
B1 a small number or not many: It was embarrassing how few people attended the party. He is among the few people I can trust. Very few people can afford to pay those prices. We leave for France in a few days. Few of the children can read or write yet. Few things in this world give me more pleasure than a long bath. Fewer people smoke these days than used to. We get few complaints. According to the survey, as few as ten percent of us are happy with our jobs. The benefits of the planned changes are few. → Compare little determiner Note: Few is used with countable nouns.Scarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things few and far between C2 not happening or existing very often: Flats which are both comfortable and reasonably priced are few and far between.Rarely and infrequentlyScarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things little determinerGrammar:Less or fewer?We use the quantifiers less and fewer to talk about quantities, amounts and degree. Less and fewer are comparative words.See moreGrammar:Less and fewer with a nounWe usually use less with uncountable nouns. We use fewer with plural nouns:See moreGrammar:Less and fewer with ofWhen we use fewer or less before articles (a/an, the), demonstratives (this, that), possessives (my, your) or pronouns (him, them), we need to use of. We use less of with singular nouns and fewer of with plural nouns:See moreGrammar:Less and fewer without a nounWe can leave out the noun when it is obvious:See moreGrammar:Little, a little, few, a few(A) little and (a) few are quantifiers meaning ‘some’. Little and few have negative meanings. We use them to mean ‘not as much as may be expected or wished for’.See moreGrammar:A little, a few with a nounWe use a little with singular uncountable nouns. We use a few with plural countable nouns:See moreGrammar:Little, few with a nounWe use little with uncountable nouns. We use few with plural countable nouns. They are used in formal contexts:See moreGrammar:(A) little, (a) few without a nounWe can use (a) little and (a) few as pronouns. We can use them to substitute for a noun when it is obvious from the context:See moreGrammar:(A) little of, (a) few ofWe use of with (a) little and (a) few when they come before articles (a/an, the), demonstratives (this, that), possessives (my, your) or pronouns (him, them):See moreGrammar:A little: adverbWe use a little as an adverb of degree. It is more formal than a bit:See moreGrammar:A little with adjectives, determiners, adverbsWe use a little before adjectives and adverbs to modify them. It is more formal than a bit:See moreGrammar:Little: adjectiveWe use little as an adjective to mean ‘small’:See more
(Definition of few determinerpronounnounadjective (NOT MANY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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