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UNCOUNTABLE-NOUNS • Little and a Little are used with non-count nouns, that is, such that we can't express in number but in quantity, as an amount. q. Form (a) little + uncountable noun For example: § I have little milk in the fridge. It's almost finished. (talking about the amount of something, as milk is measured in some quantity, but not in number) § I ate just a little. I don't eat much in the evening. (talking about the quantity of food, food is not measured in numbers, neither)
COUNTABLE-NOUNS Generally, Few and A Few are used with count nouns, therefore describing how big or small is the number of things. q. Form - (a) few + plural countable noun For example: § Few people came to the party. (talking about the number of people) § I have already talked to a few people.
§ Few – Little Are used to express a negative idea. We mean unsatisfactory number or amount of something, not enough Consider the examples: - I feel sorry for her. She has (very) few friends. (Negative idea: She does not have many friends; she has almost no friends. ) - There was few biscuits. - I have (very) little money. I don't even have enough money to buy food for dinner. (Negative idea: I do not have much money; I have almost no money. ) - There was little coffee. Note: the use of very (+few/little) makes the negative stronger, the number/amount smaller.
§ A Few - A Little We have a positive idea. That is, we mean the number or amount of something is satisfactory. Maybe not so many or not so much, but enough. Consider these examples: - She has been here only two weeks, but she has already made a few friends. (Positive idea: She has made some friends already. ) - There was a few biscuits. - I'm very pleased. I've been able to save a little money this month. (Positive idea: I have saved some money instead of spending all of it. ) - There was a little coffee. A few/ a little give a positive idea; they indicate that something exists, is present, as in the examples above.
Note: If we use a few or a little before a pronoun or determiner, we use of. Examples: - A few of them went to the cinema. - He only kept a little of his money with him.
Making comparisons The comparative form of "few" is fewer, and the comparative form of "little" is less. Remember: use "fewer" for plural countable nouns, and "less" for uncountable nouns. For example, "There are fewer people here than last year" or "He drinks less coffee than I do". It is grammatically incorrect to say "There are less people here than last year", as "people" is a plural countable noun.
q A LOT OF , LOTS OF These two expressions both mean a great deal of or several. They are used before a count or non-count noun. These two expressions tend to be used in informal English. - Form: A lot of - Lots of + singular or plural name Examples: - He's got lots of books. - I've got a lot of experience at work. - We have seen a lot of changes in this company - There are lots of job opportunities in this country.
LOT OF • Use a lot at the end of a sentence as an adverb. A lot is NOT followed by a noun. The meaning is the same as a great deal. Examples: • I enjoy swimming a lot. • Mary seems to travel a lot.
ENOUGH Form: § adjective or adverb + enough § enough + noun § enough + of + pronoun/determiner Usage: 1. We use enough to mean sufficient. Examples: • Your clothes are big enough to fit me. • You've done enough work. You can stop now. • Have you got enough money to buy me a drink?
2. We use enough in negative sentences to mean less than sufficient or less than necessary. You're not working fast enough, you won't finish on time. Sorry, I haven't got enough food for everyone. Not enough of my friends are coming to the party.
3. We can use enough without a noun if the meaning is clear. There's a lot of food but not enough for everyone.