"I have a few friends."
Translation:Tengo unos cuantos amigos.
ok its more or less like being asked how many friends you have and saying "I have a small number of friends" (meaning very little) versus kind of shrugging and saying, "meh i have a few friends" (as if you may have plenty but also you may only literally have a few). Without the person to person dialogue this is hard to understand so I hope this helps people.
Here's a good description from the Oxford English Dictionary...
"few" usually implies antithesis with "many", while in "a few", "some few" the antithesis is with "none at all". Cf. "few, or perhaps none", "a few, or perhaps many".
How should you have known that "tengo pocos amigos" would be wrong? You shouldn't have known, but hopefully now you do.
Spanish is not English, and assuming that a word-for-word translation will always work will cause you quite a few problems. :)
Luis is correct. "Poco" ALWAYS means a small number, as does "few" (by itself) in English.
However once you go to "a few" you are getting into much more vague usage, and it will depend on HOW it is said.
"He has few friends" is explicit. It means he does not have many.
"He has quite a few friends" is also explicit. It means he has a lot.
"He has a few friends" is vague, but generally means anything from an acceptable number of friends, up to a lot.
If I say "He has a few friends" without emphasis then it's probably towards the lower end, of what is considered an adequate number.
Whereas if I say "Oh yeah, he has a few friends" I could easily be talking about someone who has an almost ridiculous number of friends.
"Unos cuantos" is a pretty close translation to "a few". It is also somewhat vague, and can also mean anything from just adequate up to a lot, depending on intonation and context.
A lot of the confusion in here seems to be between "few" and "a few", which have very different meanings. "A few" just means a small number. "Few" has a negative implication, meaning 'not many', 'less than you'd expect'.
"He has a few friends" - he has a small circle of friends, not a huge number but he does have some! "He has few friends" - less than you would expect, implying nobody likes him or he pushes people away.
Sort of a glass half full/half empty thing, if you want to look at it that way!
I was okay with 'unos cuantos' being a few friends but now it also says 'unos pocos' is a few friends as well.I thought we would use tengo pocos amigos to suggest I have few friends not being a positive statement. And I thought tengo unos cuantos amigos was a positive way of saying I have a few friends. Now they both mean the same. So are weto learn using unos together with cuantos and pocos is a way of being negative.