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.

Memory Trick

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.

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