A few and few, a little and little

These expressions show the speaker’s attitude towards the quantity he/she is referring to.

A few (for countable nouns) and a little (for uncountable nouns) describe the quantity in a positiveway:


  • “I’ve got a few friends” (= maybe not many, but enough)
  • “I’ve got a little money” (= I’ve got enough to live on)

Few and little describe the quantity in a negative way:


  • Few people visited him in hospital (= he had almost no visitors)
  • He had little money (= almost no money)