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Any difference between 'quelque' and 'un peu de' when both mean 'a bit of'? Are they interchangeable?

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Any difference between 'quelque' and 'un peu de' when both mean 'a bit of'? Are they interchangeable?

Il a quelque difficulté à se concentrer pour faire ses devoirs

Il a un peu de difficulté à se concentrer pour faire ses devoirs


Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

That's an interesting question and it did get me thinking...

Quelque in the singular means some in English, in other words, an indeterminate amount of something.

e.g.

Ils habitent à quelque distance de chez nous They live some distance/way from our house

Il y a quelque temps que je ne l'ai pas vu I have not seen him for some time 

so, in your example -

He has some difficulty in concentrating = Il a quelque difficulté à se concentrer

Quelques in the plural can mean some too but also a few

Il a quelques amis chez lui pour le weekend = He has to a few friends to stay at the weekend

Elle a réfléchi quelques instants avant de répondre She pondered for a few instants before answering

J'ai quelques problèmes en ce moment = I have a few problems at the moment

'Un peu de' is more specific as it means, a small amount of -

un peu de = a small quantity  ( a bit of - a little )

e.g.

Je demande un peu de calme I am asking for a bit of calm

Il a un peu de sinusite en ce moment He has a touch of sinusitis at the moment

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Il a quelques difficultés à se concentrer. -- He has some difficulties to concentrate.
Il a un peu de difficulté à se concentrer. -- He has a bit of difficulty to concentrate.

They come close in their meaning but still, there is some difference. I certainly have some difficulty in describing it in any meaningful way. Maybe you can get the difference by staring at the example sentences? The input of a native speaker would certainly be helpful, too.

Any difference between 'quelque' and 'un peu de' when both mean 'a bit of'? Are they interchangeable?

Il a quelque difficulté à se concentrer pour faire ses devoirs

Il a un peu de difficulté à se concentrer pour faire ses devoirs


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