(This is an extract from my book: A và The Explained)Download this explanation in PDF here.We use 'a/an' with several quantifiers:a littlea fewa lot (of)We also use 'no article' with several:littlefewlots (of)In many situations, we can choose to lớn use 'a little' or 'little' (when using an uncountable noun) or 'a few' or 'few' (when using a plural countable noun). They have slightly different meanings. ('A lot' và 'lots' aren't like this. 'A lot' means the same as 'lots').When we say 'a little' or 'a few', we mean a small amount, but it's enough: John: Let's go out tonight.Lucy: Okay. I have a little
money, enough for the cinema at least.On the other hand, 'little' or 'few' usually give us a different impression. These also mean a small amount, but this time the amount is almost nothing. If the noun is something that we want (like money or friends) then using 'little' or 'few' means that we don't have enough:John: Let's go out tonight.Lucy: Sorry, I have little
money. I really can't afford to lớn go out.Of course, if we use 'few' or 'little' with a noun that we don't want, then it can have a positive meaning.
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It's good to lớn have nearly no problems, for example:There have been few
problems with the new system, thankfully!Luckily, there is little
crime in my town.I'm so pleased that I have few
arguments with my family.It's great that there's been very little
bad weather this month.Try an exercise about this here.Go to lớn the main 'a' and 'the' page.
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