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

In English, there is a nuance between a few and several: 
a few implies a slightly smaller amount than several.

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


Now look at these sentences:

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


->You never say un quelques)

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

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

As you can see, the same nuance exists in French between quelques and plusieurs :

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

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

Here quelques implies a slightly shorter distance than plusieurs. It remains quite subjective, but it is definitely worth noticing!

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)

To say many, you use the expression de nombreux / de nombreuses, depending on the gender of the thing it refers to:

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

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

 

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

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

21 April 2018

1 reply

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 April 2018

21/04/18

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


un peu -- a few
quelques -- several


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Areg

Kwiziq community member

12 April 2018

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 April 2018

12/04/18

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 !

Rachel

Kwiziq community member

11 April 2018

4 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 April 2018

12/04/18

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).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

15 April 2018

15/04/18

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!

Alan

Kwiziq community member

17 April 2018

17/04/18

What about:


Plusieurs croient que ...



Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 April 2018

17/04/18

Hi Alan,


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


Thank you for bringing it to our attention...

Annie

Kwiziq community member

9 March 2018

2 replies

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.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

9 March 2018

9/03/18

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.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

9 March 2018

9/03/18

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. 

Hanna

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2017

1 reply

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 ??

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 April 2017

19/04/17

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 !

Kathy

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2016

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 November 2016

25/11/16

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 !

Julie

Kwiziq community member

31 August 2016

1 reply

De nombreuse/nombreux

How does this differ from "beaucoup de"?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

1 September 2016

1/09/16

Bonjour Julie,


They are very similar.


beaucoup de = a lot, many


vs


de nombreux = numerous

Clever stuff underway!