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Going to the dentist once a year is not enough

Now, which one would describe once a year better, too few or too little?

Update

I know the expression is complete, but it was just an example to ask a more general question:

If I wanted to refer to a frequency (once a year), should I consider that as countable or uncountable?

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  • I think the missing word is 'times'. >Going to the dentist once a year is not enough [times] times for what is unanswered tho..
    – kztd
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:10
  • @kztd My challenge is not to change the example, is to refer to "once a year". In my example, is "once a year", beside "not enough", "too few" or "too little" or neither? Maybe "too few times"?
    – reith
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:27
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    Going to the dentist once a year is too low a frequency (NOT 'too low of a frequency'). Going three times a day is probably too high a frequency. Sep 15, 2021 at 18:04
  • "Few" refers to a number. "Little" refers to a quantity. "Once a year" is neither -- it's a frequency.
    – gotube
    Sep 16, 2021 at 7:31

1 Answer 1

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Neither is needed in that sentence. "Not enough" is complete as it is, though it could be "not often enough".
You could say that "once a year is too little", with this meaning:
Merriam-Webster little
(adverb) 2 rarely, infrequently
I'm not sure if that should be called a predicate adverb, but I think it is idiomatic.

"Too few* doesn't work at all, because "few" is an adjective and doesn't have anything to connect to in your example.

Frequency can be represented by real numbers, such as 1.25 times per second or per year, so it isn't countable. If you stick to whole numbers, you can make a sentence where frequency refers to specific occurrences, such as "5 instances/times/occurrences per year". Then you can refer to each instance. In that case, the instances are countable, though the frequency itself isn't.

However, if you are referring to a set of frequencies as discrete, individual things, then those could be countable.

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  • By not needed, do you mean they don't work?
    – reith
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:13
  • I know the expression is complete, but it was just an example to ask a more general question: "If I wanted to refer to a frequency, should I consider that as countable or uncountable?"
    – reith
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:15
  • @reith I've changed my answer to address "too little" and "too few" directly. This isn't so much a question of the countability of frequency. Sep 15, 2021 at 17:48
  • Thanks. Can't I use "too few times"? I found some similar results using ngram.
    – reith
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:53
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    Yes, but it would be awkward and wordy, given all the shorter, more idiomatic expressions, like "not enough". Sep 15, 2021 at 17:54

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