a few a little few little 用法一次搞懂

a few a little few little 用法一次搞懂

a few a little few little 用法一次搞懂

a few a little few little 當數量詞用法

a few, a little, few, little 是常見的數量詞之一,在用法上a few, few 與「可數名詞」連用, a little, little 則與「不可數名詞」連用,在文意上a few, a little是指「一些」,是帶有「正向」的文意;而few, little則是「少到幾乎沒有」,是帶有「負向」的文意,我們來看幾個例子:

1. a few, few 用法例句:

I went to the United States to pursue a master’s degree several years ago. I wanted to get my master’s degree as soon as possible, so I spent most of my time studying and rarely took part in any leisure activities. Every time my roommate invited me to get to know new friends, I said that I had no time. Therefore, I had very few friends in the first few months after I arrived in the US. After I got used to the new environment and could keep up with other students, I started to take part in more social events, such as going hiking, taking free English classes, and hosting a reading club. I met a lot of nice people and made a few friends.

我幾年前去美國攻讀碩士學位時,我一心想要儘快拿到碩士學位,所以我把時間都花在學習上很少參加任何的休閒活動,每次我室友邀請我去認識新朋友,我總是說我沒有時間,因此在我剛到美國的前幾個月我幾乎沒有什麼朋友。在我適應新環境並在課業上跟得上其他學生之後,我才開始參加較多的社交活動,例如: 健行、參加免費的英文課及主辦讀書會,我遇到了很多很好的人並結交了一些朋友

在上述的情境中, friend 這個字是可數名詞,量詞用 a few/ few來修飾,“I had very few friends.” ,這句話是帶有「負向」的文意,我的朋友少得可憐、少到幾乎沒有;反之, “I made a few friends.” 這句話是帶有「正向」的文意,我交了一些朋友。

2. a little, little 用法例句:

When I was young, I was taken care of by a babysitter and my grandparents. I could speak a little Taiwanese because all of them spoke Taiwanese only. However, since I went to elementary school and lived with my parents, I have been speaking Mandarin most of the time. I rarely speak Taiwanese now.

當我小的時候,我由保母及我的祖父母照顧,那時我會說一些台語因為他們都只講台語;然而,自從我上小學並跟我的父母一起住後,我大部分的時間都是講國語,我現在很少講台語了。

“I could speak a little Taiwanese.” 我會說一點台語 Taiwanese 台語是不可數名詞,所以與a little/little的量詞連用,而這句話是帶有「正向」的文意,英文寫I could speak a little Taiwanese.

When I was young, my family went back to Hualien, my father’s hometown, twice a year. We always got up very early and set off for Grandma’s house at around 4 AM. There was very little traffic, so we usually got to my grandma’s home within six or seven hours.

當我小的時候,我們家每年都會回去我父親的家鄉花蓮兩次,我們通常都很早起並大概在四點時出發前往我祖母的家,路上車流很少所以我們大約在六七小時之內可以抵達我祖母的家。

"There was very little traffic.” ,traffic 是不可數名詞,這句話是帶有「負向」的文意,表示路上幾乎每什麼車流。

練習題: 請填入 a few, a little, very few或 very little

1.Susan baked a cheesecake this afternoon. After she tasted the cake, she added ________sugar to it. After making the cake, Susan baked _________ cookies.

2. Susan: Mr. Ben, do you have _______minutes?
Mr. Ben: I was busy with this project. Could I talk to you later?
Susan: Sure.

3. Peter was hungry, so he drank ________milk and ate _________ pancakes.

4. Gina isn’t good at managing her money. Over the past few weeks, she has been buying things she doesn’t really need. Now she has _______money. She doesn’t even have enough money to pay the rent or buy food.

5. At the information desk:
The receptionist: How can I help you?
The guest: Could you please give me _______information about restaurants and tourist attractions in this area?

6. Jerry got the stomach flu a few days ago. He threw up several times and could hardly eat anything. He ate almost no bread. In other words, he ate _______bread.

7. Anita always checks her essays carefully and revises them at least twice before handing them in to the teacher. She makes ________mistakes in her assignments.

8. I don’t like to wear rings, earrings or necklaces. I feel uncomfortable while wearing them. I have ______jewelry.

9. When Jason was a kid, his family was very poor. He had _____toys and _____clothes.

10. Lily can’t sleep very well at night due to noise. Could you give her __________advice?

答案:

1. a little, a few
2. a few
3. a little, a few
4. very little
5. a little
6. very little
7. very few
8. very little
9. very few, very few
10. a little

a few a little few little 所接名詞省略用法

如果對話情境中指稱的東西非常明確,有時候我們會把修飾的名詞省略,例如:
Mary: Jerry, do you need more milk for your coffee?
Jerry你想要多點牛奶加到你的咖啡裡嗎?
Jerry: Just a little, thanks.
就一點點,謝謝。
Mary: Do you need sugar?
你需要糖嗎?
Jerry: Nope. I don’t take sugar in my coffee.
不用,我喝咖啡不加糖。
Mary: Would you like some cookies?
你要來一些餅乾嗎?
Jerry: Just a few. Thanks.
就幾塊,謝謝。 Mary: By the way, do you know anything about 5G technology? 對了,你對5G科技了解多少?
Jerry: Just a little.
我只懂一點。

當上下文的句意很清楚時,a few, a little, few, little 後面修飾的名詞可省略. Do you need more milk for your coffee? Jerry說 “Just a little.” 這邊指Just a little milk. 只要一些牛奶,牛奶這個名詞被省略了; Would you like some cookies? Jerry說 “Just a few.” 這邊指Just a few cookies 只要一些餅乾,餅乾這個名詞被省略了;Do you know anything about 5G technology? Jerry 說 "Just a little” 這邊指I know a little about 5G technology. 關於5G科技我只懂一點點。

a few a little few little倒底何時要加of的用法

a few, a little, few, little 後面是接代名詞(you, us)或後面的名詞是特定有所指的名詞時,用法就會要加入of ,特定有所指的名詞前面通常有the, this, that, these, those或所有格my, his, her, John’s 這樣的字詞時就需要搭配of 來使用,我們來看幾個例句:

(Mary and Jerry are having coffee in Jerry’s living room.) Mary和Jerry 正在Jerry的客廳喝咖啡

Mary: I bought a few fantasy novels last week.
我上週買了幾本奇幻小說。
Jerry: Oh, really! Could I borrow a few of them?
真的嗎! 我可以借幾本嗎?
Mary: Sure. You can come to my home to get them later.
當然,你可以等會兒來我家拿。
Jerry: I bought a package of Oolong tea a few days ago.
我幾天前買了一袋烏龍茶。
Mary: I like Oolong tea. Could I try a little of your tea?
我喜歡烏龍茶,我可以試喝一些你的茶嗎?
Jerry: Of course. Let me get the tea set.
當然,我去拿茶具組。

(After a while, Mary and Jerry are drinking tea.) 一會兒後,Mary和Jerry 正在喝茶。

Mary: You know what? My boss was mad at me this morning because I misplaced a document. He yelled at me for five minutes.
你知道嗎? 今天早上我的老闆對我發脾氣,因為我把一份文件放錯地方,他對我咆哮了五分鐘。
Jerry: I’m sorry to hear that. Well, very few of us can say that we never make any mistakes. Just be more careful the next time you file those documents.
我很抱歉聽到這個消息,嗯...我們很少有人會說我們不會犯任何錯誤,下次你歸檔時小心一點就是。
Mary: Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind.
是阿,我謹記在心。

上述情境中,I bought a few fantasy novels last week. 是直接拿a few這個量詞修飾fantasy novels,但是 Could I borrow a few of them? 這句話這邊的them指的是your fantasy novels (Could I borrow a few of your fantasy novels?) 是指你買的奇幻小說中的幾本,故要用a few of …來說,不能講 a few them 或 a few your fantasy novels 這是錯誤的句子;Could I try a little of your tea? 我可以試喝你的茶其中的一些,要說 a little of your tea,不能說a little your tea. very few of us can say that we never make any mistakes. 這句話也是一樣,us是代名詞,與few連用時要講 few of us 不能說 few us.

練習題: 判定句子中是否需要填入of,如果需要請填入of,如果不需要請打X

1. I bought a few ____apples yesterday.
2. I ate a few ____ those apples this morning.
3. Would you like a little ___ salt?
4. A few ____my books are written in French.
5. Could I try a little ___ your coffee?
6. A few ____the kids in this class like English.
7. We’ve got a few ____carrots and a little ___ milk in the refrigerator.
8. Very few ___ us can say that we never tell a white lie.

答案:

1. X
2. of
3. X
4. of
5. of
6. of
7. X X
8. of
a few a little few little 正式與非正式情境用法

a few a little few little 正式與非正式情境用法

a few a little few little 正式與非正式情境用法是讀者們比較少注意到的,這裡稍作說明:如果要表達少量的數量,Little 和 few通常用於正式情境中(亦即學術研究情境中),在非正式情境中(一般日常對話) 通常偏好使用not much/many 或only/just… a few/a little來表達,且常使用 a bit (of) 來替代a little,除此之外,very little/very few 也常見於非正式情境中,我們來看一些例句:

a few a little few little非正式情境用法:

1.A teacher said, “I haven’t got much time, so I haven’t finished checking all of your papers. Sorry about that!”

一位老師說:「我沒有很多時間所以我沒有全部改完你們的作業,抱歉。」這邊使用I haven’t got much time. 比 I have had little time貼切。

2. Don’t be angry. Jenny is going to be only a few minutes late because of the heavy traffic. Let’s go to the movie theater first and buy tickets.
別生氣! Jenny 將會遲到幾分鐘因為車流較大,我們先去電影院買票吧!

3. A: What do you think of the chicken? B: Well, I think it’s pretty good, but if you sprinkle the chicken with a bit of pepper, it will taste better.

A: 你覺得雞肉味道如何?
B: 嗯...我覺得挺好的,但如果你可以再撒上一些胡椒味道會更好。

*小提醒: a little 當數量詞時可以直接加不可數名詞,但是我們只能拿a bit of 接不可數名詞,但 a little 及 a bit 當副詞用時用法就是一樣的。
a little/a bit當數量詞用法:
Sprinkle the chicken with a bit of pepper.
= Sprinkle the chicken with a little pepper.

a little/a bit當副詞用法:
She was a little nervous.
=She was a bit nervous.

4. Susan is very shy, so she has very few friends. Susan很害羞所以她幾乎沒什麼朋友。

5. Jerry has very little patience with kids. He gets annoyed easily when kids are talking, running and yelling. Jerry 對小孩子沒什麼耐性,當小孩們在那邊講話、跑來跑去和喊叫時他很容易感到厭煩。

a few a little few little 正式情境用法:

Studies show that few people enjoy reading classic novels.
研究顯示很少人享受讀經典小說。

During the time Mary suffered from depression, many of her friends sent messages to show their concern, but few were willing to visit her in person.
在Mary 罹患憂鬱症的那段時間,很多她的朋友都傳訊息表達關心,但是很少有願意親自探訪她的。

There seems to be little prospect of success in recovering the economy of the country.
要復甦本國的經濟成功的可能性似乎挺渺茫的。

Do you have cats? Did you know that cats themselves drink little water? A lot of studies over the past few years have shown it’s important you give cats wet food rather than just pellet food.
你有養貓嗎? 你知道貓咪很少主動自己喝水嗎? 過去幾年來很多研究顯示出給予你的貓咪濕食而非乾飼料的重要性。

Little is known about her upbringing and work experience. Her life has remained mysterious to the public.
關於她過去的成長過程及工作經驗鮮為人知,她的生活對大眾來說一直是個謎。

a little或little當副詞的用法

A little 可作為表達程度上的副詞,是「有一點、稍微地」的意思,可與a bit 互換使用,可修飾動詞、形容詞及副詞,也常用於修飾比較級狀態的形容詞,只是a little 比a bit 要讓人覺得再正式一點,a little 也常加上bit 變成 a little bit 當副詞來使用;little 當副詞意思是指程度上很少有變化,例句如下:

a little/little 修飾形容詞用法

Jerry's mother was a little worried when he didn’t get home on time.
Jerry的媽媽有一點擔心當他沒有準時到家時。

This cup of tea is a little bit sweet.
這杯茶有一點甜。

I find this news a little bit hard to believe.
我覺得這則新聞有點令人難以相信。

Could you please say that one more time and give me more examples? I am still a little confused.
你可以再說一次並多給我一些例子嗎? 我仍然有一點疑惑。

After studying in the library for 2 hours, I got a bit tired.
在圖書館讀書讀了兩小時後,我覺得有一點累。

a little/little修飾比較級形容詞用法

A: Are you all right?
B: I’m feeling a little better now. Don’t worry.

A: 你還好嗎?
B: 我現在有覺得好一點了,別擔心。

Jerry didn’t get home on time. His mother decided to wait a little longer before giving him a call.
Jerry沒有準時到家,他的媽媽覺得再等久一點再打電話給他。

A: We have been walking for a long time. When will we get to our destination?
B: There’s a little further to go.
A: OK. I’m tired, but I guess I can walk a little further.

A: 我們已經走好久了,什麼時候才會抵達目的地?
B: 再走一會兒就到了。
A: 好吧! 我累了,但我想我可以再走一下。

Jerry bought a new smartphone yesterday, but he found that this new phone was little better than his old one.
Jerry昨天買了一支新手機,但是他發現他新買的手機比他舊的好不了多少。

Mary is taking an online class now, but the reception is not good. Mary says to her teacher, “Could you please speak a little louder?”
Mary現在正在上線上,但是收訊不好,Mary對她的老師說:「您可以說大聲一點嗎? 」

This movie was a bit more adventurous than the last one we saw.
這部電影比上一部我們看的電影較具有冒險性質。

On the way to the airport, Jerry said to the taxi driver, “Could you please drive a bit slower? It’s a bit dangerous to drive at a speed of 120 mph on the highway."
在去機場的路上,Jerry對計程車司機說:「您可以開慢一點嗎? 在高速公路上開時速120有一點危險。」

a little/little修飾副詞及動詞用法

They didn’t catch the 7.15 bus, so they got to the restaurant a little late.
他們沒有趕上七點十五分的公車,所以到餐廳有點遲到了。

Jerry was shy and didn’t like to hang out with strangers. He smiled just a little.
Jerry個性害羞且不喜歡和陌生人打交道。他只是默默地微笑著。

Jerry was very nervous when he gave his presentation this morning. His hands shook a little as he spoke.
今早上台報告時Jerry非常的緊張,當他在說話時他手微微顫抖。

The secretary: Sorry, Miss Lin. Mr. Bob is still talking on the phone. Could you please wait a bit? He will be with you in a few minutes.
秘書說道: 林小姐很抱歉,Bob先生還在講電話,您可以稍等一下嗎? 他再幾分鐘就好了。

Mary was sleeping when the earthquake happened. She was scared and was wide awake all night. She slept very little that night.
當Mary正在睡覺時突然發生地震,她很害怕且整晚都醒著,那晚她沒什麼睡。

His hometown is in the countryside, so it has changed little over the years.
他的家鄉在鄉村所以這幾年變化不大。

He doesn’t follow the doctor’s advice and continues to smoke, drink, eat unhealthy food and stay up late. Therefore, his health has improved very little.
他沒有遵從醫生的建議而是繼續抽菸,喝酒,吃不健康的食物並熬夜,因此他的健康狀況幾乎沒什麼改善。

結語:

a few a little few little 當數量詞用法是最為多數讀者所熟知的: a few, few 與「可數名詞」連用, a little, little 則與「不可數名詞」連用,這邊也希望讀者注意a few a little few little 在隱含意思上的差別,a few, a little是指「一些」帶有「正向」的文意;而few, little則是「少到幾乎沒有」帶有「負向」的文意,此外本文也加深加廣地提到a few a little few little 在正式與非正式情境中的用法及a little/little當副詞的用法,希望讀者在閱讀完後能對a few a little few little這幾個字詞的用法能更為精準。

參考書目:

Azar, Betty Schrampfer.Understanding and Using English Grammar. 3rd ed. New York: Pearson Education, 1999.

Hewings, Martin. Advanced Grammar in Use. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005

Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage.3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005.

劍橋字典當代英語文法 Little, a little, few, a few

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