Quelque/quelques vs Un peu de/peu de = A couple/a few vs a bit of/few (French Indefinite Adjectives)

In French, it can be tricky to know when to use the indefinite adjectives quelque/quelques and un peu de/peu de.

Learn when to use quelque/quelques and un peu de/peu de in French

quelque (singular) 

You will generally only come across the singular form in a very few fixed expressions, such as quelqu'un (someone), quelque part (somewhere), 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 Expressing quantities in French with quelques/plusieurs/de nombreux = A few/several/many

[un] peu de 

With uncountable quantities, you can use:

un peu de (singular) to express a little, a bit of
or
peu de (singular) to express little, not much, few

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 don't have much money.

With countable quantities, you can only use:

peu de (plural) to express not many, few

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

Il y a peu d'arbres dans notre quartier.There are not many trees in our neighbourhood.

 

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Examples and resources

J'ai quelques amis qui vont me rendre visite. I have some friends who are going to visit me.
Il a quelques livres à lire.He has a few books to read.
Tu t'es amusé hier? - Un peu.Did you enjoy yourself yesterday? A bit.
Je la connais depuis quelque temps.I've known her for some time.
J'ai acheté quelques bougies pour décorer ma chambre.I bought a couple of candles to decorate my bedroom.
J'ai un peu de lait.I have a little (bit of) milk.
Nous avons peu d'argent.We have little money.  
We don't have much money.
Il y a peu d'arbres dans notre quartier.There are not many trees in our neighbourhood.
Elle a peu d'amis.She has few friends.
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