Difference between Few and Little | Little vs Few

What is the Difference between Few and Little

Learning the basics of grammar is very rewarding. For one, it allows you to communicate more effectively with others. Additionally, getting into the habit of proper punctuation as well as expanding your vocabulary can help increase your confidence in how you express yourself. However, the English language has many grammatical quirks, and these can put off learners easily.

One of the most commonly confused concepts is the difference between few and little. The words ‘little’ and ‘few’ might seem similar, but they are not. In this article, we shall explore how these two words are different from each other, discover their actual meaning and learn how to correctly use these words.

Table of Contents

Table Showing the Difference between Few and Little

The major differences between few and little are summarised below:

Few

Little

Usage

Generally used to refer to countable nouns. Can be used as an adjective, noun or pronoun.

Generally used to refer to non-countable nouns. Can be used as an adjective, adverb or a pronoun.

Meaning

‘Few’ and ‘little’ are quantifiers. They refer to “some”.

Example

John has few friends in India

He had little food in the shack.

The Meaning of Few and Little

  • The word ‘few’ refers to countable nouns and is used with the plural form.
  • ‘Little’ is generally used to refer to non-countable nouns and is used with the singular form.

Important note: Countable nouns, as the name implies, are nouns that can be counted. For example: An orange, two oranges, three oranges, etc. Uncountable nouns, on the other hand, are nouns that cannot be counted. For example, you cannot say “moneys” or “informations”.

Examples for Little and Few:

We shall explore some examples:

  • Few:
    • As an adjective: His few decent clothes were now torn.
    • As a noun: Private jets are for the privileged few.
    • As a pronoun: Few thought to challenge these findings.
  • Little:
    • As an adjective: My little sister.
    • As an adverb: On their way back home, they spoke very little.
    • As a pronoun: Little is known about her childhood.

Few vs. Little – Conclusion

The rules of English grammar can be rather hard to understand, but good grammar is the main building block of written communication skills. Hence, it is important to become proficient as it is vital for success in academics, as well as in career. To learn more differences between few and little, or to discover other important concepts in grammar, register at BYJU’S English.

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