Difference Between Few and Some

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 the quantifiers is to modify a noun that is plural. Both have distinct differences too.

Few vs Some

The main difference between few and some is that the term few signifies a number that is less than five while the term some signifies a number that can be equal to or greater than five. The pronunciation of few “fju:” is while the pronunciation of some is “suhm”.

Few vs Some

The word few has a Latin origin. The word 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 word when used as a response or answer has a positive meaning.

Some are not only used as a determiner, but also as a pronoun common noun adverb as well as an adjective.

Comparison Table Between Few and Some

Parameters of Comparison FewSome
Origin of the word The term few has a Latin originThe term some has a Greek origin
Root word From “fēawe” of Old English and “paucus” of LatinFrom “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 word is used to determine a small number or quantity. It can be also used as an adjective.

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

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

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

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

Synonyms of few are scattered, couple, smattering, handful, sprinkle, and others. A word that is derived from few and is 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”, “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 is Some?

The word some is a determiner in the English language. The word is used to denote an unspecified number or amount which is usually 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.

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

The word also shares similar roots with the Greek word “hamōs” which implies somehow. The word some are also considered to have a Sanskrit origin linkage with the word “sama” 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 suffix 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 with some are “The door was knocked by someone”, “The guest asked for some water”, “The patient was asked to have some apples, “She saw him at some party”, “He felt some better after taking the 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 as well as uncountable objects.
  2. The term few signifies a number that is less than five while the term some signify a number that can be equal to or greater than five.
  3. In the hierarchy of parts of a whole, few is placed below while some is placed above or higher.
  4. Few can determine a number that is small and indefinite while some can determine a number that is large and indefinite.
  5. Few can be used to indicate a negative response while some can be used to indicate a positive response.
Difference Between Few and Some

Conclusion

Both few and some are quantifiers and determiners of the English language. They are used to refer to a small quantity or number. Both the words have different origins during different times.

Both the words are used as an answer or response to a question but have different meanings and significance to them. The root words of both words belong to different languages.

The reference of both the words is usually to an unspecified number. Knowledge about the history, etymology, pronunciation, grammatical category and other such parameters of both the words helps in making the right usage of the terms in appropriate contexts.

Both the words have distinct functions and are used in particular references.

References

  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110867909.45/html
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