A few - few
From Hull AWE
One of the oddities of English usage is that the expressions few and a few have rather different meanings. Of the two, a few denotes a greater number than few. This is true whether the words are being used as adjectives or prepositions.
- The expression a few means 'a number - some - which is clearly greater than none (though it is not very much)'.
- Few on its own (with no article) is usually an adjective. It means 'some', or 'a number that is very small, perhaps zero'.