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I always do a grammar mistake with a. I would like to improve my understanding for a special case of using a. For example,

Most values are 0 or very close to 0, while a few of them are -1.

Here, I think I do not need to use a before few. However, I do not know why?

Could you help, me please?

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Most values are 0 or very close to 0, while a few of them are -1.

A before few should be better in the sentence above. There are still some values which are -1, aren't there? So, to emphasize the fact that there are such values, we need to use a. More examples:

Most of my friends are students but a few of them are not. (some of my friends are actually not students)

I have few friends. (not using a I emphasize the fact that I have almost no friends - their number is insufficient, I feel lonely and unhappy)

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