A Few/A Little

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We use a little with noncount nouns (to mean a small amount of) and a few with count nouns (to mean a small number of).

  • There is a little pizza left. Would you like some?
  • I like my coffee with a little milk and sugar.
  • Mary gave John a little advice.
  • A little honesty can be hard to find.
  • I ate a few pieces of pizza.
  • A few cars are parked in the parking lot.
  • There are a few cows in the pasture.
  • The meal cost a few dollars.

A Couple Of / Several

Similar to a few, a couple of and several are used only with count nouns. We use a couple of to mean a small indefinite number of something. Often a couple of means two of something. We use several to mean a small indefinite number of something, but fewer in number than many. In general, a couple of is less than a few, and a few is less than several (a couple of < a few < several).

  • I ate a couple of apples.
  • Can you lend me a couple of dollars?
  • This will only take a couple of minutes.
  • Several people walked into the store.
  • I drank several cups of coffee.
  • John called several times when you were away.

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