English Grammar Usage – How to use FEW & LITTLE correctly in Spoken English Conversations?

English Grammar always confuses students, especially with words like Few and Little while talk about quantities. Learn how to use them correctly in spoken English conversations so that you avoid these common English mistakes in English. Your English teacher, Michelle has explained about the correct Grammar usage of Few and Little with the help of a quiz for better understanding.  Learning English Grammar usage is the best way to speak correct English without getting confused in complex grammar rules.

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Complete Video Transcript : –

Isn’t it a little hot today? We have already done a few lessons on much and many but this lesson is talking about ‘little’ and ‘few’. How do we use little and few in our everyday conversations, this is what we are learning today. My name is Michelle and please stay with me to learn more on this topic. Friends in this lesson we are looking at little, a little and the little. Do you see that we use different articles with little and also with few? What do you think, do they all have the same meaning? Well if they did we would not be doing this lesson. The reason that we are doing this lesson is because all of these have different meanings, when we say little it’s very different from few and when we say little and a little they also have a very different meaning. A little and the little also have a very different meaning. So first of all let’s look at the form of little and few, what are they? They are called quantifiers which means that they are telling us about the quantity of something, all right? Much and many tells us how much of something or how great a quantity of something do we have but little or few tell us how less of something do we have, okay? But less in what way, we’ll try and understand now by reading the first sentence, “He showed _____ concern for his brother.” Okay, so because the main noun of the sentence is concern, so can you count the number of concern on your finger, can you say concerns and say 1 2 3 concern no you can’t. So this means that this is an uncountable noun, all right? And whenever we have an uncountable noun, let’s see should we use little or few, “He showed few concern for his brother.” Hmm that will be incorrect. So we’ll say “He showed little concern for his brother.” Okay, now let’s look at the next one, “She had _____ moments on her own.” Hmm so we can use few here because we can count the noun here, so we can count the number of moments therefore we also have an ‘S’ here “She had few moments on her own.” Okay now let’s try to understand the meaning of these sentences, all right? When we say that he showed little concern for his brother, it means that he showed hardly any concern for his brother which means negative it has a negative meaning. Let’s look at the second sentence she had few moments on her own this means she did not have enough time on her own and she wanted just a few moments, hardly any moments, Okay? So she hardly had any moments on her own or you could say he hardly showed any concern for his brother. So little or a few mean hardly any, okay? Now here we look at the next set of sentences that we have, “There is _____ hope for his recovery.” So as you already know that we use little with an uncountable noun the rule will apply here also, okay? So we’ll say, “There is little hope for his recovery.” And we say this because hope is an uncountable noun. Let’s look at the next one, “She had _____ moments on her own.” So now moments are a countable noun and therefore we are going to use a few. We could also say that she had a few good moments on her own which means that she had some time on her own which is a positive meaning. She had some good memories possibly which she’s remembering so she could say she had a few good moments on her own, all right? But when we say she had few moments on her own this has a very negative meaning okay, which means that she wanted more time but she actually couldn’t get it so all that she had was a few moments on her own and therefore when we use little or few it shows a negative meaning but whenever we use a little, okay with the cute ‘a’ which adds a positive meaning to it, there is more hope of something and it has a positive meaning, for example in this sentence there is a little hope for his recovery, so this means that someone who is suffering is going to recover very soon and there is a little hope for his recovery, so possibly that person will recover soon and this has a positive meaning. Okay now we look at the next set of sentences that we have with the article ‘the little’ or ‘the few’. Okay, “_____ information he had was not quite reliable.” I’m sure you’re an expert by now that where should you use little or few so little is used with an uncountable noun and is information uncountable or friends, of course information is uncountable you cannot count information on your fingers and you cannot add an S to it all right, therefore we’ll say, “he little information he had was not quite reliable.” So maybe somebody is trying to investigate a case okay and they want information on it and they’re not able to find any information but they meet a person who has some information very little okay but that information is also not reliable so they say that the little information that he had was not quite reliable. The next one would be he lost the few friends okay because it’s a plural countable noun he lost the few friends he had, okay? So this means that he already had very less friends okay and out of them all that he had he lost. So possibly he lost all his friends which were already very few. So the little or the few means all that there is which is not much. Okay and I certainly want you to remember a point here okay, we never use few with you know singular countable nouns all right, you cannot say he lost the few friend he had because that would be singular alright we will say he lost a few friends he had. So a plural countable noun always like here she had a few moments on her own it would be wrong to say she had a few moment on her own, alright? So do not forget to always use it with a plural countable noun. Now we look at the last section that we have all right, this is a little bit tricky and here we are talking about the prepositions that we can use with a little or a few. Okay let’s read the first sentence, “Blend the flower with a little ____ the milk.” Okay so the rule is that whenever you have ‘the’ okay whenever you have a little before ‘the’ you join them with the preposition and that would be ‘of’ okay? “Blend the flower with a little of the milk” and why did we use little here, because obviously we have milk which is uncountable. So you can imagine you know someone saying the sentence while they are cooking something and they’re sharing the recipe with the viewers or maybe the people who are listening to them, so there is you know this table where they have flour, they have milk and other elements or other ingredients of the recipe and the person who is speaking says, “Blend the flour, okay with the, with a little of the milk” so now we say milk we add ‘the’ to milk because we are talking about specific milk all right, not the general milk but the milk that is lying on the table. If we do not say that and then we are talking about general milk just milk anywhere. So that’s why we say ‘the’ and because we have ‘the’ and a little we need to join them with ‘of’ and the same rule applies here, “A few ____ the boys were playing in the garden. “A few of the boys were playing in the garden.” So we have ‘the’ which is the article before the countable plural noun and a few and we need to join ‘the’ with ‘a few’ using the preposition ‘of’. Alright I hope this was not very confusing and would have rather helped you understand the use of little, few, a little, a few, the little, the few much better than you knew before. Thank you so much for watching this lesson, I hope you have a great time ahead, bye-bye.

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