That's only when it's capitalised- that makes it a noun, and a literal pair.
Uncapitalised, it's used as an adjective or adverb, and is more like 'a couple, a few'.
Ich habe ein Paar Schuhe.- I have a pair of shoes.
Michael und Maria sind ein Paar - Michael and Maria are a couple.
Ich brauche ein paar Tage - I need a few days.
Noch ein paar Minuten - a few minutes more.
Ja, kein Problem. A German would always understand it as a few books.
"Paar" means always two and they must be related to each other:
ein Paar Augen, ein Paar Hände, das Brautpaar, das Paar, ein Paar Socken, ein Paar Schuhe.
If there is no relation between the two, then you must use the number:
zwei Bücher, zwei Kinder, zwei Äpfel, zwei Hunde.
If there is a little, indeterminate, not related quantity, but usually more than two, then you use “ein paar”:
ein paar Bücher, ein paar Kinder, ein paar Äpfel, ein paar Hunde.
The intonation is different.
Ich kaufe ein paar Socken (I’m buying a couple of socks) has ein paar unstressed and Socken stressed.
Ich kaufe ein Paar Socken (I’m buying one pair of socks) has ein stressed (since it means “one” rather than “a”) and may have Paar stressed as well (since it’s a noun here and not just a kind of numeral) as well as Socken.
So you would hear the difference in speech as well.
The "especially from America" is unnecessarily pejorative.
Technically you're correct about "not always": there's very little in life that is always. But although many people misspell their, they're, and there, as one or the other, I suspect that they still almost always know which meaning they actually intend.
I read your other comment as well. Let me say firstly that I'm a native English speaker who grew up in a family of native English speakers, and my dad (and his family) uses the phrase "a couple of" to mean the same as "a few", even if he isn't talking about "a coupla minutes." It used to confuse my mom, who always took it literally to mean exactly two, until he clarified himself.
Anywho, from what I've read in comments on other related sentences (or maybe this one), "ein paar," when it's all lowercase, means "a few", or rather "a couple" in the loose sense that my dad would use it in. "ein Paar" would mean a literal "pair" or a literal "couple" of things, so far as I understand it.
A "pair" is two. No more; no less.
A "couple" is usually two--no more, no less--but there are a couple of situations where it's less definite (particularly in the phrase "a couple of"): e.g., "we're eating in
a couple of minutes", or "I saw
a couple of friends."
Regardless, "ein Paar" is not the same as "ein paar" in that the former is "two", but the latter could mean "some" (although it could come to mean two, too).
I like your comment because you use three times the English “a couple of” for the German ”ein paar”. Could it be possible to color the whole expression “a couple of” with yellow and not only the word “couple”? “Couple” alone is a noun and means “Paar” while “a couple of” means “ein paar”. Maybe coloring the whole expression could help others to understand better the German one.
In German “ein paar” are always 3 or more, unless you guess wrong. F. ex.
You hear a huge noise on the roof and you assume that there must be a whole pack (Rudel) of cats. Your comment: “Ein paar Katzen raufen sich auf dem Dach.“ Later on it turns out that there were only two.
If you had known there were two cats on the roof, the correct way to say it would have been: “Zwei Katzen raufen sich auf dem Dach”.
Actually a pair and a few is different. Even in english. You don't say "I have a pair of books". You say "I have a few books". For things that come in two's like socks and shoes. Pair refers to something where there is 2. A few can be anywhere between 2-5. If you have 2 books, you can say you have pair of books, but it's just a weird way to say it. In german, it's a subtle difference. You really need to pay attention to those caps (capital letters)! But it makes sense. Let's take one of his examples. 'Ich brauche ein paar Tage' I need a few days. Make that p capital and you have 'I need a pair of days'. Almost the same thing, but not quite.
Maybe it works in English because “a pair” is always 2 and “a few” are some. You have two different expressions that make clear the quantity you are speaking about.
In German there is only one word for both quantities and you would need to see it written to understand what you really mean. Therefore you can't say "Ich brauche ein Paar Tage", with capital letter referring to 2 days. Everybody would understand it as “I need a few days”.
Speaking about 2 days you have to use the number: “Ich brauche zwei Tage”.
Maybe my answer to Bill4866's comment wasn't very clear. Sorry. He wrote that DL marked "pair" and "couple" for "paar" as incorrect.
I think, DL was correct by doing this. "paar" is grammatically an indefinit pronoun while "pair" and "couple" are nouns.
Therefore the correct word in German for "pair" and "couple" is "Paar" (noun) and not "paar".
I agree, the cluster "a couple of" does not imply exactly two and would be translated as "ein paar" ("paar" written with small letter).
Manche usually refers to a logical amount. Like ''Sometimes'', which is ''Manchmal'' in German. Etwas can mean ''Something'' or also just refer to the word ''Some'', but only when referring to a physical something. Using ''Manche'' as a physical concept is more archaic in nature, or even poetic.
I don't think the genitive works here - I would only use von: ein bisschen von einem Buch. (etwas von einem Buch might also work but sounds less good to me.)
On the other hand, ein Teil can go with either: ein Teil eines Buchs; ein Teil von einem Buch.
etwas ein Buch does not work at all. (If anything, it would be etwas Buch, but that would be like "a bit of book", treating "book" as a material.)
Die Zutaten für ein Hexengebräu holt sich die Hexe meistens aus der Natur: Giftwurzeln und -knollen, Drachenblut, Rabenfedern, Wolfsklauen, usw., alles Zutaten, die einzeln aufgezählt schon Abscheu erregen, wenn sie aber dazu noch gemischt und gekocht werden, sie einem den Magen vollends umdrehen.
Ich nehme an, dass Buch als Zutat zu wenig abscheulich ist und von Hexen darum nicht verwendet wird. Sollte eine Hexe trotzdem auf die Idee kommen, Teile ihres Hexenbuches zu opfern, dann wäre „etwas Buch“ eine mögliche Ausdrucksform.
That would be close to “several books”.
Also, einige, like manche, often means “some” in the sense of “certain, particular” rather than a quantity.
It would sound odd to me to say Ich habe einige Bücher.
And while Einige Bücher habe ich is fine grammatically, it would mean something like “I have some of the books (of the series we are talking about)” rather than “I have a small number of books”.
Difference between etwas and paar?
etwas means "something".
Before an uncountable noun, it can also mean "a little bit of, some", as in etwas Wasser "some water, a bit of water".
ein paar is "a few, a couple, a small number of" and comes before a countable noun in the plural, as in ein paar Bücher "a few books".
True. But though "pair" = "couple" = "two" = "ein Paar" when used as a noun, it is NOT equal to "ein paar"--which is a determiner--when used as an adjective. The capitalization matters. Ein paar is "a few"; Ein Paar is "a pair/couple/two".
So, think of how "pair" and "couple" are used:
- "I have a pair
ofbooks." <== Pair is a noun, two of something, and "of books" further defines the two things that make the pair..
- "They are a couple." <== The "couple" is
- "I've been there a couple times." <== Here "couple" is used as an adjective, and means a small number, two or more. It is a more colloquial, informal usage.
Auf Deutsch the capitalization rule regarding nouns helps (I capitalize the English nouns below to help illustrate):
- Ein paar Bücher <== a few Books
- Ein Paar Bücher <== a Pair
- Drei Paare brauner Schuhe <== three Pairs
ofbrown Shoes (braun is declined for den Genitiv, and Paar receives the -e suffix to show plurality)
- Ein paar braune Schuhe <== several brown Shoes (braun is declined for the plural because "ein paar" does not provide the necessary usage information, so we use strong inflection").
Cf. "ein bisschen"
you can try http://www.dict.cc/?s=B%C3%BCcherplay_first_audio=DE there are usually a few recorded versions as well as a computer one. (when you click on the little speaker icon) It is much better to try to imitate a correct pronunciation than trying to approximate it with the sounds/phenomes from one's own language. :)
Ein paar could be translated as "few / a few", both structures with the same purpose and meaning. "I have few tomatoes / I have a few tomatoes". Of course, this idea could wrong when the context suggests emphasis, particularization.... To have "few tomatoes", semantically, might be interpreted such as the lack of possessing, emptiness If the extreme idea is put on the table, etc. But, Here, the program should accept both.
ein paar: for countable nouns: Ein paar Gläser sind kaputt. (a few/ a couple of / some)
etwas: for uncountable nouns: Ich habe etwas Brot. Nur etwas Geduld. (a little bit of / some)
There are nouns where you can use both, but the meaning changes:
Ich werde etwas Fisch kaufen. = I will buy some (part of a big) fish. (noun in singular)
Ich werde ein paar Fische kaufen. I will buy a couple of (whole) fish. (noun in plural)
It's not really a question. It's a statement. It means that the speaker has some books. Not just one or two, nor a large number (unless said sarcastically, such as the librarian at the Library of Congress might say if someone came in and asked, "Do you have any books here?").
The sound for this is a little bit misleading. I was instructed to dictate this sentence, and I had to listen twice before I realized it was saying "ein paar Bücher" because "ein" was emphasized more in the given soundbyte than "paar."
Emphasis and intonation are huge cues for meaning within a sentence in English and all related languages. You can have a super-thick accent and still be understood perfectly if you have these two things properly in place. I would know this; I teach English to students in Japan and have coached them for English speech contests.
I thought you could use 'manche' with countable plural objects ('Bucher' in this case).
The word is Bücher (books), not Bucher (bookers). (If you can't make the ü, write ue instead: Buecher.)
But manche Bücher means "some books, certain books".
For example, Manche Bücher sind rot, andere sind blau. = "Some books are red, others are blue."
Ich habe manche Bücher would mean something like "There are some books which I have" (implying: and others which I don't have).
It does not mean "I have a few books", where "a few" means "a small number of" rather than "certain particular". For that, you need ein paar.
Yes, it is.
"Few" can be/is used with things/nouns one can count. Such as 'They have a few cars, I have a few books.... "A few", with the "a" in front of the "few" means several, but not a huge amount like "many" can. The 'a' and "few" belong/go together.
If you are talking about things that are not countable/that can not be counted (but are talking about a similar amount as countable things with which one would use would "a few") such as milk or water... you would use "some". As in "I have some milk", "There is some water in the bathtub"
In English, there are some things that one could technically count such as rice, beans, sugar... but which are usually used with "some"instead of "a few" such as "can you get me some rice". Usually, this applies to things that while technically could be counted, such as rice grains or individual beans, are used or referred to in bulk/more than one at a time.
ein Paar is "one pair". Paar is neuter, which is why it's ein.
Later, the meaning got extended to "several, a few", much like what happened with English "a couple" (a couple of days off might be two or three or four; not necessarily exactly two).
In this extended meaning, we write ein paar with a lowercase p. But the ein still agrees with Paar.
In written German, a pair would translate to 'ein Paar' with p being capitalized. While few would translate to 'ein paar' without the capitalization. IN SPOKEN German, which is the more confusing part, you'll just have to watch for context. Like if the object described is usually found in pairs like 'socks' then they are probably referring to a pair of socks(ein Paar Socken) and not a few socks. And IF they were referring to a few socks they'd probably use other adjectives to mean few like 'enige'.
Actually this makes more sense https://yourdailygerman.com/meaning-paar/
The word stress would likely also change.
I bought a few socks = ich háb ein paar Sócken gekáuft
I bought one pair of socks = ich háb éín Paar Sócken gekáuft.
i.e. I would stress the ein of ein Paar but not of ein paar, where both words would be unstressed.
Or it might be ein Páár.
"I have few books" focuses on the scarcity. It means you have a minimal or limited amount.
"I have a few books" focuses on the quantity. That you have several books, more than one or two, probably even more than three or four; however, you don't have many books (another indeterminate quantity).
In English " I have few books" does not mean exactly the same thing as "I have a few books"
"I have few books" means that one does not have many books but only a small number of them.
"I have a few books" is somewhat different. The "a few" works as an expression. The "a" and the "few" work/belong together. It conveys that one has some books. It has a somewhat more positive meaning in that it means that even though the person does not have many books they do at least have "a few". Which is the equivalent to "Ich habe ein paar Bücher."
"I have few books" would be more " Ich habe wenige Bücher." in German.
Google translate can give some odd translations, usually with longer sentences or paragraphs. Just a word or few tends to be much better.
However, if you just typed in "paar" instead of "ein paar" the "pair" translation would be correct. "ein paar" and "Paar" are not the same.
When I tried Google Tranlsate for "ein paar" it correctly translated it as "a few" . When only "paar"is typed in it does translate it as "pair" which is correct. So does en.pons.com and dict.cc (they are both really good dictionaries and many/most of the entries even have audio.
Leaving out the "ein" really makes a difference. Sometime just switching a letter around changes it to a different word instead of making it a typo. As in "Lieder" and "leider" in German, or "lion" and "loin" in English.
Can someone tell me the difference between paar and manche since they both mean "a few"
It's not paar in Standard German -- it's ein paar. The two belong together. This means "a few, a couple".
manche, on the other hand, means "some" as in "certain", e.g. manche Menschen mögen Musik und andere nicht "some people (= certain people) like music and others do not".
das Paar is a noun meaning "the pair" (i.e. two matched objects). It's neuter.
Thus "a pair" is ein Paar.
In the metaphorical use "a few, a couple, a small number of", we write paar in lower case, but we still use the neuter ein with it, to match the original Paar.
The gender of the word after that is irrelevant. Much like how we write eine Flasche Wein (a bottle of wine) -- eine agrees with feminine Flasche, not with masculine Wein.
Plural is not treated as feminine. (Quick: what is the proper indefinite article for feminine Dativ? Now, how does that compare to the one for plural Dativ?)
"Ein paar" is a fixed phrase meaning "some". The declension of ein probably derives from Paar being neuter. See these usage notes.
Because "ein paar" and "ein Paar" are not the same word. "Ein paar"" with a lower case "p" = a few, some, ... meaning a small number of something.
The things need to be countable. If it were a small amount of something uncountable you could use "ein bisschen". It is the same as the difference between "a few flowers' which you can count, and 'some water/salt/sugar..." since water is an uncountable noun you could not say "can I have a few water" but "can I have some water"=" kann Ich ein bisschen Wasser haben" (this refers to the amount of water not individual glasses of water which you could count)
"Ein Paar" with a capital"P" = "a couple" as in 2 of something, "a pair of". If you have "ein Paar Schuhe" you have a "pair of shoes" as in having 2 shoes/a pair of shoes. If you have "ein paar Schuhe" you have a few shoes. It could be 3, 4, or whatever rather small number.
In German capitalization of a word can really make a difference. So It's pretty important to try learning it from the beginning.
So: ein paar = a few (of something countable) - ein Paar = a pair (of something)
The below is from the German StackExchange:
*"Ich werde mit ein paar Kindern wohnen. I will live with some children.
Ich werde mit einem Paar Kindern wohnen. I will live with a pair of children.
Why is this?
paar (lower case, an indefinite pronoun i.e not a noun) ein paar = some (a small countable amount) Paar (uppercase first letter, a noun) ein Paar = a couple (a pair of two things that belong together)"*
Yes. *"Bisschen" always refers to a small amount of something (non-countable).
"Etwas" also means/can mean a smallish amount of something uncountable like water, air,... But it can also function as a pronoun. As in "ich sehe etwas" = I see something" (it can be used in a lot of ways -the dict.cc link for "etwas" below lists many of them.)
You could not say "ich sehe bisschen" (You could possibly say "ich sehe ein bisschen" meaning " I see a litle (bit)" But it (the bisschen) would not mean "something" and you would definitely need the "ein" before it since "bisschen is modifying the 'ein*".
Dict.cc is a really good online dictionary to look up things. So is Pons and Duden.
It also always helps to look things up from each/both of the languages.
I would not worry too much about memorizing every single meaning of every word in the beginning since so many words can have slightly, or even drastically, different meanings depending on the context.
Especially in the beginning, it tends to be less confusing to mostly stick to the definitions/translations provided at whatever lesson/level one is in. (In whatever app or even actual live lessons one uses.) Otherwise trying to memorize a dictionary can drive one crazy. Or at least it could drive me crazy.
Paar is also "a few"?
No. ein Paar is a pair -- two that belong together.
But ein paar is "a couple, a few" -- a small number.
The capitalisation makes the difference.
(As for "a couple" no longer only meaning "exactly two" in English -- check your favourite dictionary, e.g. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/learner-english/couple_1 "two or a few" or https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/couple_1?q=couple meaning 2 "a small number of people or things".)
I have a pair of books should be accepted too
No. "a pair" means two things that belong together, and would be ein Paar in German (note capital P).
ein paar with lowercase p is "a few, a couple" (i.e. a small number: more than one but not necessarily exactly two)
The meaning of "couple" is wider than that of "pair", so you cannot always replace "couple" with "pair".
How can a stand before few
"a few" and "few" mean different things in English -- "a few" merely refers to a small number of things and means more or less the same thing as "some", while "few" focusses on the fact that they are "not many".
In fact, both of those dictionaries indicate that "a few" is something that learners will learn before they learn "few", so I'm surprised you haven't come across it yet.
And like bar, car, far, gar, mar, par, & tar. They all rhyme.
Oddly, they do not sound like "war", and there's disagreement regarding "var", which some people pronounce to rhyme with Haar and others to rhyme with "hair". (When I read "var", I hear "vare-iable"; but when I say it, I often pronounce it as "vahr". So there's that.)
Just click on the speaker symbol on top of this page. It"s to the left of the sentence. And the whole sentence will be spoken. All you need to do then is listen.
You can also use an online dictionary like dict.cc . It has audio for most entries. Again, just click the little speaker icon. https://www.dict.cc/?s=Bücher . You can also do a search for some of the other online dictionaries. Most of which have audio. All you need to do is enter the word.
You can even just go on google translate. Type in your word or sentence, and again, click on the speaker icon and it will give you audio. https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=auto&tl=en&text=Bücher
Would it be okay to say manche or etwas instead of ein paar here?
Ich habe manche Bücher. means "I have some books" in the sense "There are some books that I have [and other books that I don't have]."
Ich habe etwas Bücher. is as nonsensical as "I have a little bit of books."
No, not really. Using "pair", by itself would not work in this sentence because without an "a" in front of it, as in "a pair", "pair" would be a verb *"to pair". (usually/often)
When used with an "a" in front of it, as in "a pair" it is used to indicate "two" of something that go/belong together, not "a few".
Such as "I have a pair of socks" or "He has ten pairs of shoes". (If there is an "a" in from of the "pair" it indicates that there is "one" pair.) If there is "two, three, a hundred..." or whatever other number together/in front with "pair" it indicates the number of pairs. But the "pair" still means that there are two of something that belong/go together. So "two pair(s) of shoes" means four shoes in total, but that they come in two pairs. Such as a pair of summer shoes and one pair of boots. Which is four shoes altogether but only two pairs.
So someone can have "a few socks" or a few shoes" or whatever. But they may not necessarily be in pairs. For example, you could have three different shoes (" a few " shoes) that do not go together such as having one sandal, one high heeled shoe, and one boot, in total. Which would be "a few" but that would not make any of the shoes be "a pair".
You could also have "two pair of shoes" which would be four shoes altogether, which would also be "a few shoes" since it would not be very many. But they would be only "two pair of shoes".
So basically, "a pair"/"ein Paar" is two of something that belong together. And you can have multiple pairs, "three pairs of shoes"= drei Paar Schuhe". You can also have "a few shoes"= "ein paar Schuhe" which could be any amount not considered many but they would not necessarily have to be several pairs. It could be odd numbers such as three shoes, or two pairs, or something like that.
Also, if the German sentenence indicated "a pair" in English it would be "ein Paar" in German, with the "Paar" being capitalized. Because "ein Paar"= "a/one pair", and "ein paar" (not capitalized) = "a few".
"ein Paar = a pair"
"drei Paar = three pairs" (six of something in total but they come in twos/pairs that belong together)
"ein paar = "a few" a small number of something. Such as "a few apples", "a few books", or even "a few pair of/a few pairs" of something.
*Ein paar Schuhe/Bücher /Äpfel...= A few shoes/books/apples...
Ein Paar Schuhe = A pair of shoes
Hope I did not make it even more confusing.
Can be "pair" used as a translation of "paar"?
pair and few look like synonymous
They are not.
A "pair" is two objects that belong together.
"a few" is a fairly small number of objects (more than one, but not many).
"few" (without "a") is a small number of objects, especially a number that is small than what you might have expected.
All three mean different things.
Remember that nouns in German are capitalised.
"pair" in German is Paar, so ein Paar Bücher would mean "a pair of books" (= two that belong together).
In the extended sense "a few, a couple, a small number", it's spelled in lowercase ein paar, as it's not felt to be a noun in this usage but more like a numeral.
Both "I have a few books" and "I have some books" are accepted in a translation exercise for this sentence.
Do you have a screenshot showing one of those being rejected as a translation? If so, please share it with us -- upload it to a website somewhere such as imgur and post the URL of the image here. Thank you!
First step in any endeavor is to set realistic goals and expectations.
The US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), considers German to be in the lowest level of (difficulty for speakers of English)[http://blog.thelinguist.com/how-long-should-it-take-to-learn-a-language]. (Along with French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili). FSI research indicates that reaching "Level 2", a limited working proficiency (which should enable one to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements), takes about 480 hours. If you are able to put in 10 hours each day studying German, you should be able to achieve that limited working proficiency in 48 days (7 weeks).
But, maybe you are especially gifted in learning new languages. Let us know how it works out for you.
Because, "I have a few of books." is unfortunately simply wrong, as in being incorrect English.
In English, one can say "I have few books", with no "of" meaning that the person does not have many books but only some/a few.
It is also possible to say "I have a few books", meaning that even though the person does not have many books they do have some/a few. Again, no "of" in the sentence. This sentence emphasizes that the person does have some (even though not many). -----In the"I have few books" the emphasis is more on the scarcity/low number of books. Even though the sentences are basically saying the same thing the meaning/emphasis is slightly different. (But neither sentence can use "of".)
One can also say "I have a few of the books." This does use "of" but it also needs "the" in front of "books". It means that the person has some/a few of the books that may be required, wanted, or that they are talking about... As in someone needing numerous specific books for school but they have only some of them/"some of the books'.
it sure is interesting why Duo keeps on translating 'ein paar' into a few and not into a couple of when he usually picks the translation which is literally closer if there are good and close alternatives. I guess the reason this time, though, maybe to differentiate between the 'paar' with a versal and the Paar with a capital p...even if they can mean the same. The latter just emphasizes that it is typically German-ish-important that it really is about 2 people/things/animals and not e.g 2-4. The word paar is BTW very untypisch Deutsch since it is so ambig ;-)
Just ask a 'market person' (Marktverkäufer/in) in a German speaking country for ein Paar Äpfel and be prepared to get a question in return on how many you would like ;-)
just mina deux Pfennige...
My app was being weird and didn't show any comments and thats why I asked.
Please don't use that app any more, then.
Adding repeated questions just creates clutter. If you can't see previous comments, then the app is not useful for adding to discussions.
I recommend using the website https://www.duolingo.com/ .
Thanks for the recommendation. However, I did use the Duolingo official app. It has never failed me before. This is the first time anything like this has happened. I understand my mistake, but it was more of a Duolingo problem than a me problem. I mean, this is the first question I have ever asked. I will report the issue to Duolingo, though.
Does this mean "a couple" of books, literally?
das Paar is a noun meaning "pair" (i.e. exactly two things that belong together, as in a pair of shoes).
So ein Paar means "a pair".
This got generalised to mean "a few, a small number of (something)", and in that usage is spelled ein paar with lowercase p.
So Ich habe ein Paar Schuhe gekauft (I bought a pair of shoes = two that fit togther) versus Ich habe ein paar Schuhe gekauft (I bought a couple of / a few / some shoes = more than one shoe but not very many).
Because "a pair" as in 2 of something that go together, like shoes, is "ein Paar".
A few/some of something would be "ein paar". In German capitalization can really matter. In this case, it changes the meaning of the word.
"ein Paar" = "a pair"/2 of something that goes together. Like a pair of shoes.
"ein paar" = a few/ a couple..
And yes, in English, at least US English " a couple" of something can mean "some/a few". To be able to use "a couple" as " a few" the things have to be countable though, such as books, pens, cups... With uncountable nouns/things you can not count like water, flour, air.... you can not use "a couple" nor " a few" to mean "some". For uncountable things/nouns, you would need to use "some", a bit"....
dict.cc is a really good online german dictionary. It has audio/pronunciation for most words and it also translates into many more languages than just English. I really like it.
Actually *"i have few books" has a different meaning and would be translated as ich habe wenige Bücher. wenige = few http://www.dict.cc/?s=few
And using "a few" is correct also. It is used with "plural count nouns" http://www.engvid.com/quantity-english-a-few-a-little/
If you are referring to things like "a couple, a few..." the "a" goes/belongs with the "couple" and "few". It's just the way those expressions are used/work in English (USA).
Unfortunately, expressions and idioms, and how certain words are used, in any language, just have to be learned. Even though it sometimes may not make much, or any sense. Especially if one's first language uses a different construction/different expressions.
"A few" does not mean "nothing or nil."
You can check below. Including the Cambridge dictionary which is about as "correct English" as one an find.