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Quelque(s) vs (un) peu de = A couple/few vs a bit of/few (indefinite adjectives)

quelque (singular) 

You will generally only come across the singular form in a very few fixed expressions, such as quelqu'un (someone), quelque part (some where), quelque temps (some time / a while).

Je la connais depuis quelque temps.
I've known her for some time.

quelques (plural)

Used with countable things it means a couple of, some, a few.

Il a quelques livres à lire.
He has a few books to read.

J'ai acheté quelques bougies pour décorer ma chambre.
I bought a couple of candles to decorate my bedroom.

Here also see Quelques, plusieurs, de nombreux = A few, several, many (quantities)

[un] peu de 

Used with uncountable quantities, un peu de means a little, a bit of

J'ai un peu de lait.
I have a little (bit of) milk.

Tu t'es amusé hier? - Un peu.
Did you enjoy yourself yesterday? A bit.

 

and peu de means little, not much of, few

Nous avons peu d'argent.
We have little money.  
We haven't got much money.

Elle a peu d'amis.
She has few friends.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle a peu d'amis.
She has few friends.


Je la connais depuis quelque temps.
I've known her for some time.


J'ai un peu de lait.
I have a little (bit of) milk.


Tu t'es amusé hier? - Un peu.
Did you enjoy yourself yesterday? A bit.


Nous avons peu d'argent.
We have little money.  
We haven't got much money.


Il a quelques livres à lire.
He has a few books to read.


J'ai acheté quelques bougies pour décorer ma chambre.
I bought a couple of candles to decorate my bedroom.


J'ai quelques amis qui vont me rendre visite. 
I have some friends who are going to visit me.


Q&A

Nabeel

Kwiziq community member

3 June 2018

1 reply

Can we say (un peu d’argent) ? And will it make a difference in meaning form ( peu d’argent)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 June 2018

4/06/18

Hi Nabeel,


yes, there's a slight difference in meaning.


un peu d'argent -- a bit of money.
peu d'argent -- little money.


For example:


Il ne me faut qu'un peu d'argent pour ça. -- I only need a little bit of money for that.
Il est pauvre. Il a peu d'argent. -- He is poor. He is little money.


Hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

21 December 2017

3 replies

Pourrais-je avoir un peu de lait? Why is it not 'du lait' as in "pourrais-je avoir du lait?"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 December 2017

21/12/17

Because there is an amount specified for the milk ("un peu") you don't use the article, just "de". If you say "je voudrais du lait' you're just asking for some milk, no amount specified, hence the article which makes "de" to "du".

There is a specific lesson dedicated to the partitive article.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

21 December 2017

21/12/17

Thank you, I now understand.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 December 2017

22/12/17

Bonjour Stewart !

Indeed, with expression of quantity like "beaucoup de, un peu de...", you will only use "du" if you mean "a lot of the, a bit of the", as such:

Je bois un peu de lait.
I drink a bit of milk.

Je bois un peu du lait que j'ai trouvé dans le frigo.
I drink a bit of the milk that I found in the fridge.

Here's our lesson about partitive articles:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/du-de-la-de-l-are-used-to-express-some-or-any-partitive-articles



I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Doraida

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2017

3 replies

Elle a peu d'amis? But you can count your friends.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 March 2017

13/03/17

Bonjour Doraida !

Here the distinction is about whether to use "un peu de" (uncountable) versus "peu de" (countable): you will need the "de" in both cases.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Doraida

Kwiziq community member

13 March 2017

13/03/17

Thank you
I think I understand now

Paul

Kwiziq community member

17 June 2018

17/06/18

Aurélie, I recommend making the distinction between "a few friends" translated as "quelques" and "few friends" translated as "peu de" clearer in this lesson. As wriiten in the lesson, the usage of quelques and peu de appears to depend on countable and uncountable things. quelques (plural)

Used with countable things it means a couple of, some, a few.


[un] peu de 

Used with uncountable quantities, un peu de means a little, a bit of

Andrew

Kwiziq community member

11 December 2016

3 replies

Il a quelques amis

Would "Il a quelques amis" be the same as "Il a peu d'amis"?

Andrew

Kwiziq community member

11 December 2016

11/12/16

I think I worked it out sorry...

Il a quelques amis = he has A FEW friends

Il a peu d'amis = he has FEW friends

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 December 2016

13/12/16

Exactement Andrew :)

Michael

Kwiziq community member

3 June 2018

3/06/18

J'ai fait le même erreur. On peut toujours profiter de lire les questions. ;-)

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