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English definition of “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.Grammar:Less and fewer with a nounWe usually use less with uncountable nouns. We use fewer with plural nouns:Grammar: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:Grammar:Less and fewer without a nounWe can leave out the noun when it is obvious:Grammar: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’.Grammar:A little, a few with a nounWe use a little with singular uncountable nouns. We use a few with plural countable nouns:Grammar:Little, few with a nounWe use little with uncountable nouns. We use few with plural countable nouns. They are used in formal contexts:Grammar:(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:Grammar:(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):Grammar:A little: adverbWe use a little as an adverb of degree. It is more formal than a bit:Grammar:A little with adjectives, determiners, adverbsWe use a little before adjectives and adverbs to modify them. It is more formal than a bit:Grammar:Little: adjectiveWe use little as an adjective to mean ‘small’:
(Definition of few determinerpronounnounadjective (NOT MANY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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