the word "few"

Subject: the word "few"
From: John Wilcox <jwilcox -at- tcsi -dot- com>
To: Techwr-l List <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 20:45:32 -0800

A friend sent me a picture of a Hearts game he had just played. He
noted that he "ran a few hands" to win. I shot back, "Aha!" (See, we
always edit one another.) "You said 'a few' but you only ran it
twice!" He contended that "few" means two or more. I checked two
dictionaries, both of which, to my surprise, concurred with him, that
few means an indeterminate small number, but at least two. But I also
noted that I'd never seen or heard it used to mean only two, always
three or more. I concluded, "So you have authority on your side, but
I have consensus on mine." Now he has issued a challenge: he wants to
hear a real consensus. So, how do YOU use the word? Does it mean at
least two or at least three? Have you ever seen or heard it used to
mean three?

Please answer off-list, and I'll report the summary. Thank you! And
hey, this guy's not even a tech writer or editor, "just" a software
tester! So our honor is at stake!


John Wilcox -- Senior Technical Writer
TCSI Corp. -- Bothell, WA 425-487-8594


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