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"A few" versus "Few"

Hi all,

So I know "a few" is logically equivalent to "some" (more than 1), but for "few," can we say that it is logically equivalent to the opposite of "most"? An example would best show what I mean:

1. A few cats are blue. (Some cats are blue.)
2. Few cats are blue. (Most cats are NOT blue.)

Is this correct?

Thank you! Just a small nit picky logic thing that I keep forgetting to confirm.

Comments

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited August 2016 23929 karma
    @ThePaperChase Yes, that is correct. I had an insane English teacher in high school that made us learn all the differences in words and phrases like these.

    The way she taught us was more or less what you said. Basically A few= some and Few= virtually none. Most times a few > few.

    I have a few things I want to talk to you about.

    I have few things I want to talk to you about.

    You nailed it.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    26291 karma
    Few is just so problematic in logical terms.

    For the purposes of the LSAT, we can mostly just say that it's equivalent to "some" and move on, but even this is highly problematic. Check out PT 1 Section 4 Question 21 Answers D & E for a great example of how this can go wrong.

    With qualifiers like "some" and "most," we can define the exact range that they refer to, but we just can't do that with "few." If it were the logical opposite of "most" it would have to include 50%, but I think most of us would consider 50% of anything considerably more than few. There just isn't a definable range that few covers, so we can't really define it in relation to anything else. I think the best we could do for a logical opposite would have to be something equally subjective like "a lot."
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