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  5. "I have a few friends."

"I have a few friends."

Translation:Tengo unos cuantos amigos.

January 10, 2013



wouldn't "tengo pocos amigos" be a correct translation?


Not really. "Tengo pocos amigos" means "I have a small number of friends".


I have a small number of friends/ I have a few friends - This means the same thing in English - I think they should both be accepted.


the translation when you hover over "few" says poco.... if you are going to state something redundant luis... please go into further detail. As far as english speakers are concerned, they mean the same.


"I have a small number of friends" and "I have a few friends" do not mean the same thing in English. Maybe "I have few friends" does, but "a few" does not mean "a small number".


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.

  • 2918


I'm a native English speaker and I've always understood and used "a few" to mean a small number unless it's preceded by "quite". How should I have known that "tengo pocos amigos" would be wrong?


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. :)


"a few" typically means 3-7.. less than 10, which is quite a small number of friends for most people. As someone else pointed out, "I have quite a few friends" is a better translation for this sentence.


Tengo unos pocos amigos was accepted


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.


Best explanation I've read on this matter. I would also suggest that tone of voice plays a part in the understanding of the vague "He has a few friends". If said sarcastically it would mean the opposite of a few.


What's with "Tengo unos amigos". So far unos alone seemed correct.


What's wrong with "tengo unos amigos"?


I got marked wrong for ticking Tengo unos cuantos amigas as well as Tengo unos cuantos amigos. Very annoying since I know what both sentences mean but I still have to read Duolingo's mind.


Pretty sure that should be unas cuantas amigas - Duo does a lot of that, throwing out options with inconsistent gender to make sure you can spot bad grammar


decided to switch to amigas at the last moment and i forgot to changes cuantos into cuantas. thanks


In english small number and a few are interchangeable, thank you


Nobody answered the question about "tengo unos amigos". Why is that wrong?


Because you're just saying 'I have some friends'


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!

  • 2565

made it through this lesson in five attempts and am still totally confused about the difference between unos cuantos and pocos


unos cuantos = a few pocos = few.

Think of the semantic difference between saying "I have few friends" and "I have a few friends". It is subtle but it is there. I think "I have few friends" has a more negative connotation.

  • 2565

ooh, subtle indeed, thanks for your feedback


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.


pocos = few

unos pocos = a few

The un/unos is important, just like the a is in English - it changes the meaning


so is “unos cuantos” equal to “unos pocos” ?


I used "Tengo unos amigos" which was accepted. So having some friends can mean having a few??

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