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I have a question about choice of using this phrases. What different between "Some words" and "a few words"? What I need to use?

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  • Without a context, this question cannot be answered. Sep 18, 2015 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

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The difference between those two phrases is significant enough for each to know so they aren't confused in some contexts and close enough so they can be used interchangeably in other contexts.

When you introduce somebody who is going to speak in front of a audience, you say

And now aunt Betsie will say a few words.

meaning that aunt Betsie will say something she herself will choose and the number of the words is not known ahead of her speech.

An introduction to a commercial break on live TV by the host of the show used to sound like this:

And now a few words from our sponsors.

Because they didn't exactly know what commercial advertisement is going to air but they knew it was supposed to be brief.

You use "some" as the determiner to allude to specific words without naming them:

Some words are better left unsaid.

In that case you either know or can give an example of those words. There are probably not very many of them, either, although the number is not necessarily "few" or "several", and generally speaking, the number is not determined by "some".

If, on the other hand, you say

Few words are better left unsaid [between friends].

you actually single out only a small number of words. Note the absence of "a" in front of "few".

When you refer to portion of the speech, for instance

He talked rapidly and I could only understand some words.

you usually mean that you understood not all the words spoken, but whether that part is greater than a half or smaller, is not specified.

On the other hand, if you say

He talked rapidly and I could only understand a few words.

you certainly mean that only a rather small number of words were understood by you.


There are probably numerous other contexts in which the meanings differ.

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'a few words' I would like to invite Mr. Turner on stage to say a few words.

Words are countable so 'few' should be preferred instead of 'some'.

I cannot think of an instance where 'some words' would be more suited than 'a few words'.

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