Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Few and Some

Few vs Some

“Few” and “some” are two determiners and quantifiers used in many sentences. Both words indicate an unspecified or vague number of objects or nouns. Another similarity in both terms is that they indicate a smaller part of a whole or a collection. Although both words indicate the indefinite nature of the numbers, it is considered that they both point out a mass or plural number.

Usage of both “few” and “some” are often in instances where the quantity or specific number of nouns is not important or unknown. The word “few” generally indicates a number or a figure of five or less. On the other hand, “some” indicates a larger quantity that ranges between five and ten.

In terms of hierarchy, “some” is placed higher than “few” and lower than “more.” In contrast, “few” is placed below “some” but higher than “couple.”

Another major difference between the two determiners or quantifiers is their application to nouns. “Few” is applied to countable objects while “some” is applicable to both countable and uncountable objects. As determiners, they are both classified as general determinants since they both cater to uncountable nouns.

Aside from being determiners and quantifiers, both “few” and “some” also function as a response to an inquiry, but what distinguishes them are the meanings that the terms project. For instance, “few” indicates a negative meaning while “some” show a positive connotation.
Another function of “some” as an answer is the impression of uncertainty or indefiniteness in the response.

Both words have different etymologies. “Few” comes from a variety of languages; Middle English (few), Old English (fēawe), and Latin (paucus). The root word meaning of “few” is “little.” “Few” was already used even before the 12th century.

In the case of “some,” it came from the Middle English (som), Old English (sum), and Greek (hamē). The time when “some” originated is the same time as “few,” before the 12th century.

Aside from being determiners and quantifiers, “few” and “some” also have other grammatical functions. “Some” functions as a noun, pronoun, (singular and plural in construction), adjective, and adverb. “Some” also forms other words like the following: somebody, someone, someday, someplace, something, somehow, and somewhat. “Few” also has the same grammatical functions of “some.” For example, it also functions as a noun (plural in construction), adjective, and adverb.


1.“Few” and ”some” are words that indicate a vague or indefinite number which is part of a whole. Although they both pertain to an indefinite number, it is considered that they modify plural nouns or objects.
2.“Few” indicates a number that is less than five while “some” implies a number between five and above. They both belong to a hierarchy of parts (of a whole). In this hierarchy, “few” is below “some” and above “couple.” In contrast, “some” is higher than “few” but is lower than “many” or “several.” To sum it all up, “few” can be described as a small, indefinite number while “some” as an indefinite, large number.
3.“Few” is used to modify countable nouns. Meanwhile, “some” is applicable to both countable and uncountable nouns.
4.Used as a response, “few” can indicate a negative impression; on the other hand, “some” creates a positive thought.
5.Both “few” and “some” were being used since the 12th century. “Few” and “some” share the same etymological counterparts in Middle and Old English, but their primary root words are different. “Some” has Greek origins while ”few” has a Latin beginning.
6.Other similarities between the two terms are their functions as determiners, quantifiers, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
7.Unlike “few,” “some” has other relater words like: somehow, somewhat, something, someday, someplace, somebody, and someone.

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1 Comment

  1. “Few” isn’t getting a fair hearing in this article.

    “Few” can be used ans an adjective in a way that “some” can’t, such as fewer, and fewest. And similarly as a noun fewness, or as in “The few fought the many”.

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