couldn't "they have a few books" also work? I lost a heart and it seems like that should be an acceptable answer.
"they have a few books" is "ils ont quelques livres" i.e. a certain number of books vs not many books with "peu de/few".
they have a few books = ils/elles ont quelques livres (un peu de is used with uncountables)
Would 'they don't have many/a lot of books' be acceptable? It is correct English
Many expressions expressing quantity are built with de and without article:
- peu de, beaucoup de, plus de, pas de, autant de, etc.
I'm not sure exactly why, but this just doesn't work in English - it's not something we'd ever say. We would say 'they have a few books', or 'they don't have many books', so I think they should be accepted answers here.
It's perfectly acceptable English. "They don't have many possessions; they have few books and no toys." "They have a few books" isn't quite the same.
Agreed. There is nothing grammatically wrong with "they have few" as a construction.
There is a difference between 'They have a few books.' and 'They have few books.'
The former places emphasis on the books, i.e. they own some books. The latter places emphasis on 'few', the quantity of the books, i.e. they do not have many books.
"fewer" means "a lesser number of". In other words, it is comparative, while "few/ a few" are not.