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Few vs. Some: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on November 28, 2023
"Few" refers to a small number of countable items; "Some" indicates an unspecified number or amount of countable or uncountable items.

Key Differences

"Few" and "Some" are both quantifiers, but they differ in their specific usages and nuances. "Few" typically signifies a very small number, sometimes implying "not enough" of countable nouns. On the other hand, "Some" is more neutral and can apply to both countable and uncountable nouns without any inherent negative connotation.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
For example, if someone says, "I have few friends," it might suggest they don't have as many friends as they'd like. However, "I have some friends" doesn't provide any indication of the speaker's satisfaction with the number.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
While "Few" always deals with countable nouns, "Some" demonstrates versatility by associating with both countable and uncountable nouns. For instance, one could say "I have some milk" or "I have some apples."
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
In questions, "Some" often expects a positive answer, as in "Would you like some coffee?" Conversely, using "Few" in questions is less common and might appear in contexts like "Are there few enough participants to fit in one car?"
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
An important distinction is that "Few" can be graded, leading to comparative forms like "fewer" and superlative forms like "fewest." "Some," however, doesn't have comparable gradations.
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Connotation

Often implies "not enough"
Neutral
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Applicability

Only countable nouns
Both countable and uncountable nouns
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Example Usage

Few books, few cars
Some books, some water
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

In Questions

Less common, e.g., "Are there few options?"
Expects positive answer, "Need some help?"
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

Graded Forms

Fewer (comparative), fewest (superlative)
No graded forms
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
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Few and Some Definitions

Few

Few indicates a small number.
There are few cookies left in the jar.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 20, 2023

Some

Some refers to an unspecified number or amount.
I need some time to think.
Harlon Moss
Oct 20, 2023

Few

Few is used with countable nouns.
Few students passed the test.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 20, 2023

Some

Some can be used with countable and uncountable nouns.
She bought some apples and some juice.
Janet White
Oct 20, 2023

Few

Few suggests not as many as expected.
I thought there'd be more, but only a few showed up.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 20, 2023

Some

Some is often used in offers or requests.
Would you like some tea?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 20, 2023

Few

Few can imply scarcity.
Few opportunities like this come around.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 20, 2023

Some

Some indicates a portion of a whole.
Some people prefer winter over summer.
Janet White
Oct 20, 2023

Few

Few can be graded to "fewer" or "fewest".
He has the fewest candies among us.
Harlon Moss
Oct 20, 2023

Some

Being an unspecified number or quantity
Some people came into the room. Would you like some sugar?.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

Amounting to or consisting of a small number
One of my few bad habits. See Usage Note at less.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Being a portion or an unspecified number or quantity of a whole or group
He likes some modern sculpture but not all.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

Being more than one but indefinitely small in number
Bowled a few strings.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Being a considerable number or quantity
She has been directing films for some years now.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

An indefinitely small number of persons or things
A few of the books have torn jackets.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Unknown or unspecified by name
Some man called.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

An exclusive or limited number
The discerning few.
The fortunate few.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(Logic) Being part and perhaps all of a class.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

(preceded by another determiner) An indefinite, but usually small, number of.
There are a few cars (=some, but a relatively small number) in the street.
Quite a few people (=a significant number) were pleasantly surprised.
I think he's had a few drinks. [This usage is likely ironic.]
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(Informal) Remarkable
She is some skier.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

(used alone) Not many; a small (in comparison with another number stated or implied) but somewhat indefinite number of.
There are very few people who understand quantum theory.
I was expecting a big crowd at the party, but very few people (=almost none) turned up.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Approximately; about
Some 40 people attended the rally.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

Obscuring one to two oktas (eighths) of the sky.
Tonight: A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness overnight.
NOAA definition of the term "few clouds": An official sky cover classification for aviation weather observations, descriptive of a sky cover of 1/8 to 2/8. This is applied only when obscuring phenomena aloft are present--that is, not when obscuring phenomena are surface-based, such as fog.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(Informal) Somewhat
Some tired.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

(US?) Having a 10 percent chance of measurable precipitation (0.01 inch); used interchangeably with isolated.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A certain number, at least two.
Some enjoy spicy food, others prefer it milder.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

Few people, few things.
Many are called, but few are chosen.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

An indefinite quantity.
Can I have some of them?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

Not many; small, limited, or confined in number; - indicating a small portion of units or individuals constituting a whole; often, by ellipsis of a noun, a few people.
Few know and fewer care.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

An indefinite amount, a part.
Please give me some of the cake.
Everyone is wrong some of the time.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

An indefinite but relatively small number;
They bought a case of beer and drank a few
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A certain proportion of, at least two.
Some people like camping.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

A small elite group;
It was designed for the discriminating few
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

An unspecified quantity or number of.
Would you like some grapes?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Few

A quantifier that can be used with count nouns and is often preceded by `a'; a small but indefinite number;
A few weeks ago
A few more wagons than usual
An invalid's pleasures are few and far between
Few roses were still blooming
Few women have led troops in battle
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

An unspecified amount of (something uncountable).
Would you like some water?
After some persuasion, he finally agreed.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A certain, an unspecified or unknown.
I've just met some guy who said he knew you.
The sequence S converges to zero for some initial value v.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A considerable quantity or number of.
He had edited the paper for some years.
He stopped working some time ago.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Approximately, about (with a number).
She had been employed at that company for some five years now.
There were only some three or four cars in the lot at the time.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(informal) A remarkable.
He is some acrobat!
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Of a measurement: approximately, roughly.
I guess he must have weighed some 90 kilos.
Some 30,000 spectators witnessed the feat.
Some 4,000 acres of land were flooded.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(dialect) To a certain extent, or for a certain period.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Consisting of a greater or less portion or sum; composed of a quantity or number which is not stated; - used to express an indefinite quantity or number; as, some wine; some water; some persons. Used also pronominally; as, I have some.
Some theoretical writers allege that there was a time when there was no such thing as society.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A certain; one; - indicating a person, thing, event, etc., as not known individually, or designated more specifically; as, some man, that is, some one man.
Some man praiseth his neighbor by a wicked intent.
Most gentlemen of property, at some period or other of their lives, are ambitious of representing their county in Parliament.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Not much; a little; moderate; as, the censure was to some extent just.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

About; near; more or less; - used commonly with numerals, but formerly also with a singular substantive of time or distance; as, a village of some eighty houses; some two or three persons; some hour hence.
The number slain on the rebel's part were some two thousand.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Considerable in number or quantity.
On its outer point, some miles away.The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Certain; those of one part or portion; - in distinction from other or others; as, some men believe one thing, and others another.
Some [seeds] fell among thorns; . . . but other fell into good ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

A part; a portion; - used pronominally, and followed sometimes by of; as, some of our provisions.
Your edicts some reclaim from sins,But most your life and blest example wins.
Some to the shores do fly,Some to the woods, or whither fear advised.
Some in his bed, some in the deep sea.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Quantifier; used with either mass nouns or plural count nouns to indicate an unspecified number or quantity;
Have some milk
Some roses were still blooming
Having some friends over
Some apples
Some paper
We have no bananas
No eggs left and no money to buy any
Have you no decency?
Did it with no help
I'll get you there in no time
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Unknown or unspecified;
Some lunatic drove into my car
Some man telephoned while you were out
Some day my prince will come
Some enchanted evening
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Relatively many but unspecified in number;
They were here for some weeks
We did not meet again for some years
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Remarkable;
That was some party
She is some skier
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Relatively much but unspecified in amount or extent;
We talked for some time
He was still some distance away
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

(of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct;
Lasted approximately an hour
In just about a minute
He's about 30 years old
I've had about all I can stand
We meet about once a month
Some forty people came
Weighs around a hundred pounds
Roughly $3,000
Holds 3 gallons, more or less
20 or so people were at the party
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 13, 2023

Some

Some is neutral without specific quantity.
There are some books on the table.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 20, 2023

FAQs

Can "Some" be used for both countable and uncountable nouns?

Yes, "Some" can refer to both, like "some apples" or "some water."
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Does "Few" always have a negative connotation?

Often, but not always. The context can determine its nuance.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Is there a comparative form of "Some"?

No, "Some" doesn't have comparative or superlative forms like "Few" does.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Does "A few" mean the same as "Some"?

While both can indicate a small, unspecified number, "A few" is for countable nouns, and "Some" can be broader in application.
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

How is "Some" typically used in questions?

"Some" in questions often expects a positive answer, e.g., "Would you like some cake?"
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023

Why might someone use "Few" instead of a specific number?

"Few" can be used when the exact number isn't known or when emphasizing the smallness of the quantity.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Can "Few" imply rarity?

Yes, like in "few and far between."
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

How is "Few" different from "A few"?

"Few" implies a small number, often with a sense of "not enough", while "A few" is more neutral, indicating a small number without the negative connotation.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Which is used for countable nouns, "Few" or "Some"?

Both can be used, but "Few" is exclusively for countable nouns.
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

Can "Few" be used with uncountable nouns?

No, "Few" is used only with countable nouns.
Janet White
Nov 28, 2023

What's a typical situation to use "Some"?

"Some" is often used when the exact quantity is unknown or unspecified.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Can "Some" indicate more than half?

"Some" is neutral and doesn't specify an exact portion, so it can be more, less, or about half.
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

How can "Few" be graded?

"Few" has comparative "fewer" and superlative "fewest."
Sara Rehman
Nov 28, 2023

Is "Some" always vague?

Typically, "Some" doesn't specify an exact quantity, making it somewhat vague.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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