# How many, to you, is "a few"

Obviously, the answer depends on context but, if the question were presented to you without any other reference point, how many constitute a “few”? This is a question that came about in the office, and there was a surprising (at least to me) amount of consistency to the answers. My answer was part of the minority opinion.

My original answer, “it depends on what you’re talking about” was summarily dismissed, hence the phrasing of my OP. When pressed to it, I said “about 5.” Two other people agreed, but most of the respondents answered “3.” I don’t think there were any answers outside this range.

Three, four, or five.

“Several” starts at six.

Three. Maybe four. Maybe, if you’re stretching it, five. Almost certainly not six. Probably not two (that’s “a couple!”).

Three or more. How many more depends on how humorous I’m feeling.

“There were a few mosquitoes up at the lake this summer.”

Three or four.

Three to five. More than five is “many”.

A few is more than a couple and less than several. So 3 or 4 if dealing with a small group.
But if I say a few out of thousands, I could be including any number over to and probably up to 20 or 30.
So I guess there is a sliding scale.

Jim

A trilogy. Including a Douglas Adams trilogy, if pressed.

I haven’t looked at the spoiler, but I must follow the crowd here and say 3 or 4.

I once set myself the task of organizing the non-specific quantity words into ascending order. I had few near the bottom with several coming soon after. I got into trouble with passle, shitpot and googob. Likewise with heap, bunch, gaggle and oodles.

Three to five.

“A few”, to me, means “three” in absence of context. “Several” means “seven” in absence of context.

Haven’t read the spoiler or any intervening posts (will go back after posting this and do so) – I’d say “a few” is three to five.

In most cases a few is fewer than ten. Like a few jelly beans.

Certainly more than two or three, IMO. Two or three is called a couple-three. Like I had a couple-three jelly beans. Maybe around 5 would be an average amount of few.

Three to five.

Bucking the trend here - I would say three is still “a couple of”, rather than “a few”. 4-6 in the absence of context.

Three or four. Five and six are getting into “several.”

The correct answer is three or four.

Nope. A few is five. That’s all there is to it.

A few is three, four at a stretch. A handful is five or six and several is seven to 12.
mm

I don’t know where we got it, but my sister and I used to have a saying as kids: “A few goes up to nine”. By the results of this thread so far, we seem to be in the minority.