I wrote:

Currently, there are several treebanks based on different grammatical theories for the major languages, such as English.

But I feel "several" doesn't suit my sentence. Maybe "many" or "multiple", "various"... suit more, because "several" may mean "few" (however, they could be few, but in such a sentence have a negative tone)

Am I right?

  • "Several" is usually more than two, but fewer than twenty. It does not have a meaning "a rather small number", which "few" often has. – Victor Bazarov Oct 19 '15 at 20:59

"Several" is frequently defined as

more than two but fewer than many (Merriam-Webster, see also Free Dictionary)

. . . so if you think "many" would be accurate, "several" is not a good fit.

"Multiple" is a more flexible and would work even if you are not ready to commit to "many," but still do not want to rule out the possibility of "many."


"Several" does not necessarily imply "few," so you're in good shape there. In fact, it's often used as a contrast to "few," indicating a greater number of elements. You might think of the continuum as "a couple," "a few," and "several," in reverse order of number of elements.

Depending on your exact meaning, I might recommend using "a number of" or "a variety of" in place of "several" in your sentence, as it may hew closer to your meaning. Note that this would not be a correction, nor even a point of style - just an issue of word choice properly reflecting your intent.

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