Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/100

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A Desk-Book of

fetch. Compare bring.

few: Sometimes used incorrectly for "in some measure"; "to an extent"; "somewhat"; "rather"; as, "Did you enjoy yourself?" "Just a few." Few is correctly applied to quantity and incorrectly to quality; therefore, its use as in the illustration given here is not good English.

few and a few must not be confounded. "Few men would act thus" means that scarcely any would; but "A few men will always speak the truth" means that there are some, though not many, whose custom this is.

few, little: The first of these words is sometimes improperly used for the second. Measurement by count is expressed by few, measurement by quantity by little; as, "the loss of a few soldiers will make but little difference to the result." "The fewer his acquaintances, the fewer (not the less) his enemies." Few, fewer, fewest, are correctly used in describing articles the aggregate of which is expressed in numbers; little, less, and least are used of objects that are spoken of in bulk.

figure: E. S. Gould and other critics object to the use of the word in the sense of an amount stated in numbers, as "Goods at a high figure." But Dean Alford is content to give his sanction to its use, and the literary and general public have followed him.

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