What are the differences among “little”, “few”, “a little” and “a few”?
Are “little” and “few” synonyms?
'Few' is mainly used when talking about the number of 'count nouns', such as 'dogs'. You can say
to mean that not many dogs make good friends with cats. But if you said
this would suggest that dogs that are small (cat-sized, perhaps?) make good friends with cats.
On the other hand, 'little' is used when talking about the amount of 'mass nouns', such as 'water'.
means that not a lot of water got into the house (thank goodness!). On the other hand,
is not a valid sentence.
Sometimes you can use either to produce equivalent sentences, but usually 'few' will precede a plural noun and 'little' will proceed a singular (mass) noun. For example:
Both of these sentences mean that they haven't given the other much cause to dislike them.
A little and a few both mean some, but the above rules still apply here. So you would say a few dogs and a little water, but not a little dogs or a few water (which aren't valid sentences).