A Little / A Few

A Little / A few or Little / Few

It's a difference if you use a little / a few or little / few. Without the article, the words have a limiting or negative meaning.

a little = some

 little = hardly any

Example:

I need a little money. - I need some money.

I need little money. - I need hardly any money.

a few = some

few = hardly any

Example:

A few friends visited me. - Some friends visited me.

Few friends visited me. - Hardly any friends visited me.

 

Without the article, little / few sound rather formal. That's why we don't use them very often in everyday English. A negative sentence with much / many is more common here.

Example:

I need little money. = I do not need much money.

Few friends visited me. = Not many friends visited me.