When I google this question in Japanese, someone has answered like the following. "few" means just a little and "few days" is often used in a negative sentence. eg)" I could only spend few days with her. " Which means this person couldn't spend much time with her.

On the other hand if you say, " I could spend a few days with her." means this person could spend 2~3 days with her and it sounds more positive than the first sentence.

Is it true?

Some people just say that "few days" is not correct and we should always use "a few days"even for a negative meaning.

I'm getting confused.

Could someone help me with this?

  • 3
    The "positive/negative" scale is not very helpful here. One could, for example, say "...few days have been as splendid as this". But there is definitely a distinction to be made between "few days" and "a few days". However in some cases they are almost interchangeable. "I could only spend few days with her", is almost the same as "I could only spend a few days with her".
    – WS2
    Aug 19, 2022 at 5:40
  • Thank you very much for your answer to my question. I still wonder what this distinction is. → "But there is definitely a distinction to be made between "few days" and "a few days". " Anyway it sounds like it's grammatically correct to use "few days" too.
    – Sakura
    Aug 19, 2022 at 6:23
  • 1
    Few/afew/the few has been discussed a good deal on the site.
    – WS2
    Aug 19, 2022 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Yes, few has a negative meaning (not many), while a few means a small number.

There were few people in the streets at that early hour.

We would normally say only a few days. (I would have said that only few was unidiomatic, but Google Ngrams shows that its usage has increased over the past few decades.)


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