General Question

chefl's avatar

What are some examples of when to use "a few" and when to use "some"?

Asked by chefl (875points) 2 months ago
10 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

So, this is about countable things. I was answering a question where someone wrote “some” gives a “higher importance” regarding the number of people who don’t follow the teachings of a god/God but think a God/god exists. But I used ” some” because if we’re talking worldwide, I think it can’t be just “a few”. Which one is the best answer from Google search (some vs a few)?
https://tinyurl.com/r74pzjdb

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Answers

Zaku's avatar

I think better than any of those search results (on the first two pages, anyway) are the definitions:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/few

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/some

That is, “a few” means not many, and generally means more than two. In contrast, “some” means “at least one”.

chefl's avatar

@Zaku, That’s it. To me “some” is just vague, (noncommittal?).
According to the person who thought “some” makes it sound like a high percentage/number.

kritiper's avatar

A “few” is between 5 and 10. “Some” is between 10 and 20.

JLeslie's avatar

A few is usually 2 or 3. Some people use it to mean a handful, so more like 5. Beyond that several is usually used, so several is often denoting 6 or 7, but can be anything from 4 to maybe 8. It does vary in everyday usage, which is why it is always good to clarify if the actual number is important. Some can be almost any number, but I generally think of it as being somewhere between 25% and 40%. Otherwise, I use half, or majority, etc.

If I understand correctly, you are asking if it is accurate to say a few people believe in God? Or, a few people don’t believe in God? I would say a few is not correct in either case. Way more than a few people believe in God, and also many more than a few don’t believe in God.

I think some is accurate if you don’t know the number, just as your link says.

seawulf575's avatar

I always thought of “a few” as being a nonspecific number of items…usually around 3. “I have a few dollars in my pocket” as an example. You could also use it to indicate a portion of a population. “I have very few Pokemon cards”. In either case we aren’t talking a whole lot. I’ve thought of some as not really a specific number, but an indicator of a portion of a population of things. “Some of the children in the class had brown hair”.

In either case I think you have to consider that anyone that is going to get that foolish in a conversation as to try making a big deal out of using one or the other has issues.

cookieman's avatar

I operate under the premise that a couple is 2, a few is 3, some is 4, and a handful is 5.

Somebody taught me this when I was a kid and there’s some logic to it that I like.

kritiper's avatar

A “couple” means 2 or 3.

chefl's avatar

All I know is it’s more than one, and if I have no idea how many more than one, or what percentage, but I know it’s not 5 or something like that I use “some”

Thanks all.

zenvelo's avatar

In addition to the vague numerical amount, there is also the a sense of the collection.

A few cookies implies the same type of cookie. Some cookies, implies a small variety.

A few rocks implies a small number of similar rocks; some rocks implies a small random assortment.

Also, one can drive home after a few drinks, but you better get a cab if you have had some drinks.

chefl's avatar

@zenvelo I would add could to that. Some kinds of cookies?
Also, it depends if it’s 3 out of 5 or 3 out of trillions?

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