0

"A few good men" is a title of movie which is a piece of work long times ago and famous in the past. By the way, I don't know why this phrase is correct.

1)If "A few" modifies "good", A little can be used before the word "good", not "A few".

or

2)If this phrase is correct, the word "A few" would modify the word "men"

If 2) is corret, I want to know why this happen possibly. And relating to 2), please let me know which part of speech the phrase "A few" is?

3
  • 1
    According to Oxford Dictionaries, a few is a pronoun meaning 'a small number of'. A little cannot be used with countable nouns. You could say "There is a little good wine left." Aug 27, 2021 at 7:41
  • @Kate Bunting In "A few good men", do you mean "a few" is a pronoun? I disagree with you. I think "a few is a determiner or an adjective.
    – bak1936
    Aug 27, 2021 at 13:57
  • As I said, you disagree with Oxford Dictionaries, not with me. Aug 30, 2021 at 20:07

1 Answer 1

3

In the phrase "A few good men" the quantity-adjective "a few" modifies the noun phrase "good men." Within that noun phrase, of course, the quality-adjective "good" modifies the noun "men."

There are three possibilities these could be separated out, all with different meanings...

  • Good men. There are some men (how many is not known) and they are good.
  • A few men. There are some men (whether or not they are good is not known) and there are a smallish number of them.
  • A few good men. This is a combination of both of the other options: There are a smallish number of good men.

"A few" cannot modify "good" on its own to mean "only a little bit good." If you wanted to say that you might use "somewhat-good men."

"A little" cannot modify a count noun like "men" and I don't see how it can modify an adjective either. You can say something like "He has done a little good in his life" but in that sentence "good" is a noun being used as a stand-in for "good things;" it is not a free-floating adjective.

Not also that "a little" and "a few" are not the same as "little" and "few."

1
  • 3
    Note that "a good few" is also a known construction, actually meaning "a fairly large number of" whatever is being referred to. Aug 27, 2021 at 5:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .