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"мало лука"

Translation:few onions

January 19, 2016



What is the difference between my (incorrect) "a few onions" and the (correct) "few onions?"


Well, a black bubble just explained it, "мало" is an insufficient amount whereas "a few" can mean "several" (at least in the world of duolingo).


One of the best web pages I've read on this topic and something that I think will help you is this page here:

Few, a Few—What’s the Difference?



If I understand correctly, мало means "little" or "few", for example: Things are not going well for Peter. He has little money and few friends (=not much money and not many friends). This is negative. Compare with: Things are going better for Peter now. He has a little money and a few friends (=some money and some friends ). This is positive. Can someone confirm that this is немнога in Russian? "


Hello Peterviuz. I asked a question above on this, so I'm not an authority on the matter, but having moved a little further through the course since, and spent a good bit of time Skyping and instant-messaging native speakers, I think, in the positive context you mentioned above, несколько (several) might be the correct word. Also, I don't know for sure but I suspect that немного is the opposite of много and has a similar meaning to мало. Having tested it on a few occasions, it seems to me that мало has an inference of "too little" or "too few", whereas немного perhaps just means "little or not a lot" whether there's "too" few or "too" little, or not. I could be talking rubbish though, but until a native speaker ventures to answer this question, it's the best I can do :-)


Hmmm. Thanks. Any natives out there?


Oh, the difference between мало, немного и несколько usually strongly depends on the context. Generally you can say that мало is insufficient, немного - not many, несколько - several. Your example with little money and a few friends is really good. If you say У него мало денег и друзей, likely I will understand it in the negative way.

Немного друзей sounds strange. But I can't explain it properly... It is ok to say немного яблок, немного денег, немного книг, but it is strange for немного людей, немного собак. It sounds like you want to know how to cook dogs, ask the receipt and I answer you: you should add a few dogs (добавь немного собак) =D For animate nouns you should use несколько instead of немного. But also there are some exclusions! For example, this dialog is ok: -У тебя много друзей? -Нет, не много. (no, I not a lot) In this case не is separated from много and не много means "not a lot". While немного is several.

In the same time you can use несколько for all countable nouns, and I would say that for them usually мало < немного ~ несколько.

If you say У него есть немного денег и несколько друзей , I can't understand definitely if it is good or not. For example, у него не много денег и друзей, а мало is in negative "he has not a lot of money and friends but too little". But if you say Он счастливчик! у него есть немного денег и несколько друзей, а у нее нет ничего и никого I will understand it in positive way (for the boy) as He is lucky! He has a little money and a few friends, but she has nothing and nobody...

Sorry if I confused you more, I can't put it in the theory


Thanks, that's a great help. Sorry for the late reply, but I needed time to look at this properly. I conclude (I hope correctly!): мало = few / little Немного = a few / a little (for inanimates only) несколько = a few / some / several (for countables only)


yep, you understood it right (:


Спасибо. Это отличный ответ. И думая об этом, это так же на английском языке.


So to clarify, does мало mean "less than the amount required" as per the discussions above/below or "not very many"? I am confused because "few" has numerous connotations in English, one of which is "three", another is a suggestion of "less than the amount required" but only by indirect implication usually resulting from British etiquette, and "a few" can even mean "more than enough" in certain circumstances).


I should add that I was translating it as "little [something]" and not in the "small" sense, but as in the English phrase "I'm afraid, my dear, we have little money for the week", which is almost certainly what Bob Cratchet said at the beginning of every week! Hahaha! :-)


Anybody having trouble with the "oinon" typo in the answer for the translation to english?


3 weeks since your comment, and the typo is still there :(


Why is мало лука few onions but У нас мало лука we do not have many onions?


Is there a "percent fluent" for russian?


you really can't say 'few onions' in English unless you intend to go on and say eg 'few onions grow in Iceland'


Мало лука- little onion, while "few onions", or should rather be, "a few onions"- несколько луковиц. Мало means "little" as in "too little", this translation into English is not good at all, doesn't define the meaning of "мало" at all. I am a native Russian speakers, and fluent in English.


Onion uncountable?


Indeed, fixed that.


"Too few onions" should be the answer


"Too few" is "Слишком мало".


I do not speak English and I just now understood why the Tor browser has a onion on the logo :/


because many layers xD


what's the difference between "A few onions" and "few onions" in this case?


so how do you say 'a few onions'?


if ever in Russian I promise not to buy any onions


Shrek is displeased


hmm... I wrote "a few onions" and it was marked as wrong


The previous excercise I got was 'у нас мало лука'. I translated this as 'we have few onions'. This was counted wrong. The correct translation (according to DL) was 'we do not have many onions'. So obviously I translated this excercise as 'not many onions'. Which was then counted wrong... Sigh.

Please PLEASE DL at least be consistent in your translations...


Why not "not much onion"

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