Some vs. Few

'Some' and 'few' both refer to a quantity. So there is always a challenge to choose between them.

"Some" vs. "Few" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Few' refers to a smaller quantity than 'Some'. Although these two, both refer to an indefinite number, they are slightly different.


Using Countable or Uncountable Nouns

  • 'Few':

is followed by plural countable nouns.

I have read few books this week.

  • 'Some':

is followed by plural countable nouns or uncountable nouns.

You need some apples to make an apple pie.

I used some milk in the pasta sauce; it tastes good.

Grammatical Functions

  • 'Few' is used as:
  1. a determiner
  2. a pronoun
  3. an adjective

I need to know few things before the injection. → determiner

Few agreed with the manager. → pronoun

Wait for just few moments, and I'll be ready. → adjective

  • 'Some' is used as:
  1. a determiner
  2. a pronoun
  3. an adverb

Some birds emigrate to a hot place, in winter. → determiner

Some of us would like a cup of tea in this room. → pronoun

I need some more money to be able to buy the car. → adverb

What Few and Some Mean

  • 'Few':

refers to a small number that is less than 'some'.

They have had few issues that led them to get divorced.

  • 'Some':

refers to a small number or amount that is more than 'few'.

He drank some wine and started the speech.

Using Plural or Singular Verbs

  • 'Few':

is followed by plural verbs.

Few blossoms bloom in spring.

  • 'Some':

is followed by both singular and plural verbs.

Some people believe his words, but not me.

"Do we have any butter left?" "Yes, some is left in the fridge."


Grammatical Functions

  • 'Few' and 'some' are:
  1. pronouns
  2. determiners

Few can decide logically in hard situations. → pronoun

Some were having fun, but mostly people were bored. → pronoun

I need few minutes to get dressed. → determiner

Some juniors are talented. → determiner

Using 'of'

  • 'Few of' and 'some of':

are used with pronouns and determiners.

The earthquake was the leading cause of death. Fortunately, few of them were children.

Some of us need to live in the present.

What They Refer to

  • 'Few' and 'some':

both refer to quantities;so they are quantifiers.


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