General Question

chefl's avatar

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

Asked by chefl (892points) August 4th, 2022

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

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 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?

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther