Quantifiers: 'few', 'a few', 'little' and 'a bit of'

Quantifiers: 'few', 'a few', 'little' and 'a bit of'

Do you know how to use a few, few, very little and a bit of? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how these quantifiers are used with countable and uncountable nouns.

I have a few friends, so I'm not lonely.
She has few friends, so she's quite lonely.
We've got a bit of time before our train. Shall we get a coffee?
We've got very little time before our train. Hurry up!

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Countable and uncountable nouns 2: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

A few and a bit of or a little mean some. Often we feel this amount is enough or more than we expected. We use a few with plural nouns and a bit of or a little with uncountable nouns.

I have a few ideas.
I've brought a few friends.
There's a bit of milk left.
It needs a little more work.

We use few and very little to show that we are talking about a small amount. Often we feel this amount is not enough or less than we expected. Few is for countable nouns and very little is for uncountable nouns.

Few people came to the meeting.
There are few places where you can still see these birds.
We have very little time.
I have very little money.

Note that you can use little without very, but it is less common and sounds quite formal.

She had little water.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Countable and uncountable nouns 2: Grammar test 2

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Submitted by krollos on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 13:15

Some people use "a little bit", How can we use it?

Hello krollos,

A little bit can be used in several ways. The most common are:

It can modify uncountable nouns (a little bit of money, a little bit of time).

It can modify a verb (I walked for a little bit).

It can also modify an adjective (She was a little bit sad).

Generally, a little bit is quite informal in style.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Masas on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 21:37

It was useful a topic, thank you!

Submitted by Aimee19 on Mon, 13/04/2020 - 03:22

please tell me why I can't use "few'' for space??? I think ''space'' is a plural noun

Hello Aimee19,

Space is a singular noun. It can be an uncountable noun when we are talking about the general concept of an area (I need more space than this) or it can be a countable noun when we are identifying particular locations (My cat loves to lie in the spaces between our chairs).



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Cassie on Sat, 11/04/2020 - 12:52

thanks Oxford online I had a lot of questions about it

Submitted by George Ngegba on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 01:09

I total appreciate this Oxford online English. It has actually helped me in my writing and speaking. I knows that with time I am going to learn more from this forum. Thanks!

Submitted by Sanja on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 21:38

Thank you for this very clear explanation. I was realy confused about this.