Few vs Some: Difference and Comparison

There are various quantifiers and determiners in the English language. The job of a quantifier or determiner is to evaluate the quantity or number of an object or thing.

The two common determiners used widely are few and some. The usage of both quantifiers is to modify a plural noun. Both have distinct differences too.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Few” implies a small number or quantity, while “some” indicates an unspecified or unknown quantity.
  2. “Few” is used with countable nouns, while “some” can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.
  3. “Few” has a more negative connotation, while “some” is neutral or positive.

Few vs Some

Few is a harmful or undesirable term used to describe a quantity that is not enough or less than expected. Some is a quantity that is not necessarily large but still exists and is used to indicate a positive or neutral situation. For example, “Some people showed up to the party” implies that there were some people who came.

Few vs Some

The word few has a Latin origin. The term, when used as a response or answer, has a negative meaning. Few is not only used as a determiner but also as a noun, adverb, and adjective.

The comparative and superlative degree of few as an adjective is fewer and fewest, respectively.

On the other hand, the word some have a Greek origin. The term, when used as a response or answer, has a positive meaning.

Some are used not only as a determiner but also as a pronoun, common noun adverbs and adjectives.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFewSome
Origin of the word The term few has a Latin originThe term some has a Greek origin
Root word The term originated before the 12th century From “sum” of Old English and “hamē” of Greek
Time of origin The word originated in mid 11th centuryThe word originated before the 12th century
The extent of meaning NegativePositive
Grammatical functions As a noun, adverb, and adjective As a pronoun, noun, adverb, and adjective

What is Few?

The word few is a determiner in the English language. The term is used to determine a small number or quantity. It can also be used as an adjective.

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The comparative adjective of the word few is fewer. The superlative objective of the word few is most occasional. Few is also used as a response or answer to some query or doubt.

The word few has a Germanic origin. The old High German word “fao” is related to the origin of few. It is also associated with the old English words like “fēawe” and “fēawa.

The word also shares and European root of Latin “caucus” and Greek “puros”. The usage of the word few is with countable nouns.

The pronunciation of the word few is “fju:”. Apart from denoting a small number or amount, few can also be used as a plural noun.

Synonyms of few are scattered, couple, smattering, handful, sprinkle, and others. A word derived from few and used as a noun is “fewness”.

Some exemplar sentences of few are “She had few friends”, “The fisherman caught a few fishes”, “There were few guests at the party”, “The products have only a few units left”, and “Few of her stories were false”, “One of her few hobbies are reading books”, “My Uncle brought few gifts for me from abroad”, “The speaker allowed the audience to ask a few questions”, ” The garden can appeal to the few”, and various other such examples.

What are Some?

The word some is a determiner in the English language. The term is used to denote an unspecified number or amount, which is low. It can also be used to signify something or someone who is not known.

The word sum is also used as a pronoun. As a pronoun, it signifies a small number of things or people.

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The word some has an Indo-European root. The old English expression “sum” shows a relation with some of Germanic origin.

The word also shares similar roots with the Greek word “hamōs”, which implies somehow. The word some is also considered to have a Sanskrit origin linkage with the word “same”, which means any and every.

Some can also be used as an adverb in an informal setting. The usage as an adverb is mostly in the North American context. Some are also used as a suffix.

Examples of suffixes with some are – tiresome, loathsome, burdensome, wholesome, foursome, chromosome, and other such words.

Synonyms of some are unspecified, anonymous, one, more or less, roughly, approximately, near, around, and various others.

Exemplar sentences are “Someone knocked on the door”, “The guest asked for some water”, “The patient was asked to have some apples, “She saw him at some party”, “He felt better after taking medicine”, “The documents need some more rework,”

Main Differences Between Few and Some

  1. The application of few is in countable objects, while the application of some is in countable and uncountable objects.
  2. The term few signifies a number less than five, while some signify a number equal to or greater than five.
  3. In the hierarchy of parts of a whole, a few are placed below, while some are placed above or higher.
  4. Few can determine a small and indefinite number, while some can determine a large and indefinite number.
  5. Few can indicate a negative response, while some can indicate a positive one.
Difference Between Few and Some
  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110867909.45/html

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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