Few people showed up for the party … or a few? Which is correct? And what’s the difference?
At first glance, the difference may seem slight — that of an article. But the two have different meanings. And what you use depends on what you mean.
When you mean “some” or “part of a set”, use “a few”.
These are a few of my favorite things.
When you mean “very few” or “a negligible amount”, use “few”.
Few people are fond of long walks these days.
And so, both few and a few people can show up for the party depending on what you mean.