A Little / A few or Little / Few

It's a difference if you use a little / a few or little / few. Without the article, the words have a limiting or negative meaning.

* a little = some
little = hardly any

I need a little money. - I need some money.
I need little money. - I need hardly any money.

* a few = some
few = hardly any

A few friends visited me. - Some friends visited me.
Few friends visited me. - Hardly any friends visited me.

Without the article, little / few sound rather formal. That's why we don't use them very often in everyday English. A negative sentence with much / many is more common here.

I need little money. = I do not need much money.
Few friends visited me. = Not many friends visited me.

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