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

To express quantities such as a few, several and many in French, you will use quelques, plusieurs and de nombreux/nombreuses.

Here's how to use them:

Quelques vs plusieurs  =  a few vs several

In English, there is a nuance between a few and several : 

I have a few books.        versus       I have several books.

-> a few implies a slightly smaller amount than several.

The same nuance exists in French between quelques and plusieurs :

J'habite à quelques rues d'ici.
I live a few streets away.
I live a couple of streets away.

J'habite à plusieurs rues d'ici.
I live several streets away.

-> Here quelques implies a slightly shorter distance than plusieurs. It remains quite subjective, but it is definitely worth noticing!
Attention : You never say un quelques (a few)

If we had to establish an order of quantity, it would go like this: 

a couple / some /a few several    many / numerous
quelques 
plusieurs  de nombreux (m)  
de nombreuses (f)  

Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier.
Paul drank a few glasses of wine yesterday.

Ma soeur aime plusieurs types de film.
My sister likes several types of films

De nombreux fans l'attendaient à la sortie.
Many fans were waiting for him by the exit.

 

De nombreux / de nombreuses  =  many

Il m'a donné de nombreuses fleurs.
He gave me many flowers.

J'ai lu de nombreux livres.
I read many books.

 

To say many, you use the expression de nombreux / de nombreusesdepending on the gender of the thing it refers to.

 

Also see the more advanced Quelque(s) vs (un) peu de = A couple/a few vs a bit of/few (indefinite adjectives)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier.
Paul drank a few glasses of wine yesterday.


De nombreux fans l'attendaient à la sortie.
Many fans were waiting for him by the exit.


J'ai lu de nombreux livres.
I read many books.


J'ai plusieurs livres d'aventure.
I have several adventure books.


Il m'a donné de nombreuses fleurs.
He gave me many flowers.


J'habite à quelques rues d'ici.
I live a few streets away.
I live a couple of streets away.


J'ai invité quelques amis à dîner.
I invited a few friends over to dinner.


J'habite à plusieurs rues d'ici.
I live several streets away.


Ma soeur aime plusieurs types de film.
My sister likes several types of films


Q&A Forum 10 questions, 17 answers

"Some people thinks that vaccination cause ..." How do we translate this 'some' in French?

'Some' in this sentence can be thousands of people, we cannot use 'quelques' in this case, is it? But using de numbreux sounds subjective

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

I would simply say, "Il y a des gens qui pensent que..." if you didn't want to use one of the options given in the lesson. Or maybe "Certaines personnes pensent que..."

"Some people thinks that vaccination cause ..." How do we translate this 'some' in French?

'Some' in this sentence can be thousands of people, we cannot use 'quelques' in this case, is it? But using de numbreux sounds subjective

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What is the difference between 'des' and 'quelques'?

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

'Des' is some in English which is an indeterminate quantity of things , 'quelques' is a few, meaning a small amount of things.

Hope this helps!

What is the difference between 'des' and 'quelques'?

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Quelques, plusiers and distance

the green box refers to an example that hasn’t been mentioned...that of living a few or several streets away.  I see the two sentences further down in the last list but somehow in the editing process they were left out of the lesson
Asked 1 year ago

There is definitely something amiss with this lesson.

-- Chris.

AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Marnie !

Indeed, this lesson needed a good update, and thanks to you, it's now done :)

Merci et bonne journée !

Quelques, plusiers and distance

the green box refers to an example that hasn’t been mentioned...that of living a few or several streets away.  I see the two sentences further down in the last list but somehow in the editing process they were left out of the lesson

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I thought you used un peu for a few, not quelques.

Asked 1 year ago

"Un peu" is less then "quelques". So I guess you would say:

un peu -- a few
quelques -- several

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

I thought you used un peu for a few, not quelques.

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J'aime ________ styles de musique. Quelle répomse est just: "de nombreuses" ou "de nombreux". On a "la style" ici?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Areg !

The word "style" is masculine in French = le style, hence the correct answer is:

J'aime de nombreux styles de musique.

 

Bonne journée !

J'aime ________ styles de musique. Quelle répomse est just: "de nombreuses" ou "de nombreux". On a "la style" ici?

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Are these terms pronouns that can stand alone, or must they be followed by a noun?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Rachel,

These pronouns do go with nouns,

plusieurs amis, certaines personnes, quelques livres...

Even in the example given by Chris, the 'en' replaces the noun 'amis'.

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Alan,

'Plusieurs' is probably the exception here... but the noun 'people' is implied here. 

Thank you for bringing it to our attention...

Hi Rachel,

i can't think of a good example where they wouldn't be followed by a noun. Maybe something like this?

Combien d'amis avez-vous? -- J'en ai plusieurs. 

What did you have in mind?

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

What about:

Plusieurs croient que ...

Are these terms pronouns that can stand alone, or must they be followed by a noun?

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Few/Several

What English dialect is Kwiziq based on? My sociolect most definitely does not contain this silly "few is slightly less than several". Few is the opposite of many, it is not in a scale with several. Several means more than one, although usually 3 or more. I get that you are looking for a way to separate out the feel of scale in the French words, but it just doesn't work.
Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq language super star

Hi Annie - this is definitely something that is down to personal interpretation so I'm not surprised that you don't find it quite matches your internal semantics. English is also far less precise than French. That said, there is a rough hierarchy to English quantities that works for many people.

There's an interesting write up here:

https://www.writerightwords.com/write-right-couple-few-some-several-many/ 

But, as I said, this isn't a law so it either fits with how you use the words, or not. Also I think "a few" is different to "few", which may help? For me, a few is definitely less than several. I guess it depends on the context as well though.

To me, a few represents a tighter restriction than several. If I said, "I have several of them.", it could mean a few or a bit more than a few.

-- Chris. 

I am a native American English speaker. ‘Few’ and ‘several’ are the same to me. Equal to around 3. As a result, I am having a hard time ‘splitting the hairs’ between the two French words in this lesson!

Few/Several

What English dialect is Kwiziq based on? My sociolect most definitely does not contain this silly "few is slightly less than several". Few is the opposite of many, it is not in a scale with several. Several means more than one, although usually 3 or more. I get that you are looking for a way to separate out the feel of scale in the French words, but it just doesn't work.

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How do these work with en?

If you want the quantifier to be a direct object, would you use it like: Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier ---> Paul en a bu quelques hier ??
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Hanna ! Actually, "quelques" is a special case here, as you would need to add "-un(e)s" as such: "Paul en a bu quelques-uns hier." -> Though note that this isn't at all colloquial to say "He's had a few.". In French, to express this idea, you'll rather say "Il a pas mal bu hier." or "Il a bien bu.". You can say "Il en a bu plusieurs." but not "Il en a bu de nombreux." => you'll say "Il en a bu beaucoup." instead :) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

How do these work with en?

If you want the quantifier to be a direct object, would you use it like: Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier ---> Paul en a bu quelques hier ??

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Pas mal de ...

Bonjour, I've heard that one can use "pas mal de ..." to indicate "quite a lot", and I just want to confirm this is correct. For example: "Il y avait pas mal de monde à la fête". Merci ! Kathy
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Kathy ! Indeed, this is correct. You use the expression "pas mal de" (= quite a lot of) as a quasi-synonym to "beaucoup de" or "plein de" = a lot of. Here's another example: "Il a pas mal de BDs dans sa chambre." (He has quite a lot of graphic novels in his bedroom.) À bientôt !

Pas mal de ...

Bonjour, I've heard that one can use "pas mal de ..." to indicate "quite a lot", and I just want to confirm this is correct. For example: "Il y avait pas mal de monde à la fête". Merci ! Kathy

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De nombreuse/nombreux

How does this differ from "beaucoup de"?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Julie,

They are very similar.

beaucoup de = a lot, many

vs

de nombreux = numerous

"beaucoup" is not accepted as a correct translation, when it should and would be used more often for "many."

De nombreuse/nombreux

How does this differ from "beaucoup de"?

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