Few vs Some – What’s the difference?

The words “few” and “some” can sometimes be complicated and confusing. Many people tend to interchange while using them as they almost hold the same meaning. But one should realize that they can be similar, but they are not the same.

Few” and “some” are both quantifiers and determiners that generally tend to indicate something that is small in number. While they both are applicable when referring to a small collection or basically a plural number, they have some differences in their usage.

Let us discuss them and understand where exactly do they stand different and how.

Few vs Some – Difference

Few

The word “few” is a quantifier and determiner that we generally use when we are referring to a small mass. It is used to show a vague quantity of something that is lesser in number.

Few” is used with countable nouns. It indicates a small number of people or things that can be counted and separated.

For example;

  • He had few books.
  • I asked few questions.
  • She had few dresses.

We see “few” indicates an unknown number of nouns that are less in quantity but are countable.

Some

Some” is also a quantifier and determiner. It is also usually used to determine a small amount of something. It shows a vague and unknown quantity of something which is in small number.

However, “some” is different from “few” because “some” is used with both countable and uncountable nouns. It indicates a small amount of something that cannot or can be counted or separated into numbers.

For example;

  • Can I get some water?
  • Please, give me some chocolates.

We see it can either be uncountable or countable.

Main difference between Few and Some

The word “few” is generally an indication of mostly less or hardly any. And it is usually used to determine something that is lesser than what someone expected or wished. However, “some” refers to something that is more than “few” and less than many. So, in the hierarchy, “some” is placed above less but below more.
In simple language, we can understand that “few” is a number between 1-5, and “some” indicates a number between 5-10.

Another major difference between the two is regarding their function as a response and the meanings they convey. To be more precise, “few” is basically used in a negative sense. When one talks about something that is less than they expected, they use “few”. It is portrayed in a negative way.

On the other hand, “some” is used when one is referring to something in a positive way. When one talks about something that is less in number but enough, they use “some”. It is a positive connotation.

Other than these common uses, “some” can also be applied as a noun, adjective, and adverb. However, this also applies the same with “few”.

So we notice that both “few” and “some” are very similar to each other. But it has some minor differences that give each a distinct and separate identity. Depending on the sentence, both words may act the same. But it is always safe to remember their difference and apply them where needed.

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