Lesson Nine:  A few / A little

Lesson Nine: A few / A little

Lesson Nine

a few / a little

 Few is used with count nouns:

a few = 3-4               few = a small amount

Q: How many cars are there?

A: There are just a few.

(a few = 3 or 4)

There are a few bananas on the table.
bananas  (a few = 3 or 4)

She’s sad because she has very few friends.

(This means she doesn’t have many friends. Notice there is no article. “A few” means something different.


Few people were at the meeting. She expected 20, but only three came.

(In this example and the one above, the situation is not good.)


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 Little is used with non count nouns

a little / little = a small amount

He dropped a little paint on his wife’s head.

You can also use…

a little bit of

He dropped a little bit of paint on his wife’s head.

There’s a little snow on the road and on the ground.farm

He got very little sleep last night.

(Notice that “sleep” is a noun in this sentence. “A little sleep” is a small amount of sleep, and “little sleep” is not very much sleep or no sleep.)


Q: Did she find what she was looking for in the newspaper?

A: No. There was very little information.


Watch this video:


Part A.
Directions: Fill in the blank with “a few” or “a litttle.” (20 points)
1. She has ___________ money in her purse.
2. There are ___________ people in the store.
3. Please get ___________ oranges when you go to the store.
4. I have ____________ fruit with me if you’re hungry.
5. They bought ____________ books at the bookstore.
6. There were quite ___________ children on the playground.
7. Here’s ____________ information about Mount Rushmore.
8. It took _____________ hours to drive to the campground.
9. I need ____________ bucks. Can you lend me some money?
10. All but _____________ of the guests got sick after the party.
11. ___________ patience is all we need to get through the day.
12. This sitution is _____________ embarassing.
13. Call me back in ____________ minutes.
14. The movie was good for ____________ laughs.
15. We can all use ___________ laughter.
16. This soup needs ____________ salt.
17. There were quite ____________ bees outside this morning.
18. I saw ____________ deer in the woods this morning.
19. Can you give me ____________ help?
20. How about __________ coffee? Do you want some?
Part B.
Directions: Fill in the blank with “few” or “little.” Notice the meanings of these words are different from those in Part A. (20 pts)
1. My boss has __________ patience for employees who are late.
2. In high school she had very ____________ friends.
3. There are __________ good schools in that city.
4. We have ____________ time to waste. Let’s go now.
5. She feels very ___________ sympathy for the poor.
6. There are too ___________ buses at this time of the day.
7. __________ people showed up at the party.
8. This is too ___________, too late.
9. The houses here are __________ and far between.
10. Very __________ marriages last longer than 50 years.
11. ___________ effort went into the production and it showed.
12. There was so __________ competition in the race, he won easily.
13. There are very ___________ fish in this part of the lake.
14. They put very ____________ sugar in these cookies.
15. ___________ bacteria can survive these kinds of temperatures.
16. The students put too ___________ effort into their homework.
17. ____________ shopping malls are open on Christmas day.
18. I know this is ____________ comfort, but I’m sorry.
19. There are ____________ women with her qualifications.
20. He gets ___________ exercise, so he’s put on a lot of weight.


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