Quelques, plusieurs, de nombreux = A few, several, many (quantities)

To express quantities such as a few, several and many in French, you will use quelques, plusieurs and de nombreux/nombreuses.

Here's how to use them:

Quelques vs plusieurs  =  a few vs several

In English, there is a nuance between a few and several : 

I have a few books.        versus       I have several books.

-> a few implies a slightly smaller amount than several.

The same nuance exists in French between quelques and plusieurs :

J'habite à quelques rues d'ici.
I live a few streets away.
I live a couple of streets away.

J'habite à plusieurs rues d'ici.
I live several streets away.

-> Here quelques implies a slightly shorter distance than plusieurs. It remains quite subjective, but it is definitely worth noticing!
Attention : You never say un quelques (a few)

If we had to establish an order of quantity, it would go like this: 

a couple / some /a few several    many / numerous
quelques 
plusieurs  de nombreux (m)  
de nombreuses (f)  

Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier.
Paul drank a few glasses of wine yesterday.

Ma soeur aime plusieurs types de film.
My sister likes several types of films

De nombreux fans l'attendaient à la sortie.
Many fans were waiting for him by the exit.

 

De nombreux / de nombreuses  =  many

Il m'a donné de nombreuses fleurs.
He gave me many flowers.

J'ai lu de nombreux livres.
I read many books.

 

To say many, you use the expression de nombreux / de nombreusesdepending on the gender of the thing it refers to.

 

Also see the more advanced Quelque(s) vs (un) peu de = A couple/a few vs a bit of/few (indefinite adjectives)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'ai lu de nombreux livres.
I read many books.


J'ai plusieurs livres d'aventure.
I have several adventure books.


Il m'a donné de nombreuses fleurs.
He gave me many flowers.


J'habite à quelques rues d'ici.
I live a few streets away.
I live a couple of streets away.


J'ai invité quelques amis à dîner.
I invited a few friends over to dinner.


J'habite à plusieurs rues d'ici.
I live several streets away.


Ma soeur aime plusieurs types de film.
My sister likes several types of films


Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier.
Paul drank a few glasses of wine yesterday.


De nombreux fans l'attendaient à la sortie.
Many fans were waiting for him by the exit.


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 17 answers

GC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Beaucoup de......

Is there a specific reason that "beaucoup de" is not included in this lesson ?

It would be the term I would be most likely to use for "many".

Asked 1 week ago

Beaucoup de......

Is there a specific reason that "beaucoup de" is not included in this lesson ?

It would be the term I would be most likely to use for "many".

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JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"Some people thinks that vaccination cause ..." How do we translate this 'some' in French?

'Some' in this sentence can be thousands of people, we cannot use 'quelques' in this case, is it? But using de numbreux sounds subjective

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I would simply say, "Il y a des gens qui pensent que..." if you didn't want to use one of the options given in the lesson. Or maybe "Certaines personnes pensent que..."

"Some people thinks that vaccination cause ..." How do we translate this 'some' in French?

'Some' in this sentence can be thousands of people, we cannot use 'quelques' in this case, is it? But using de numbreux sounds subjective

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JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

What is the difference between 'des' and 'quelques'?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

'Des' is some in English which is an indeterminate quantity of things , 'quelques' is a few, meaning a small amount of things.

Hope this helps!

What is the difference between 'des' and 'quelques'?

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MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Quelques, plusiers and distance

the green box refers to an example that hasn’t been mentioned...that of living a few or several streets away.  I see the two sentences further down in the last list but somehow in the editing process they were left out of the lesson
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

There is definitely something amiss with this lesson.

-- Chris.

AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Marnie !

Indeed, this lesson needed a good update, and thanks to you, it's now done :)

Merci et bonne journée !

Quelques, plusiers and distance

the green box refers to an example that hasn’t been mentioned...that of living a few or several streets away.  I see the two sentences further down in the last list but somehow in the editing process they were left out of the lesson

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CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I thought you used un peu for a few, not quelques.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

"Un peu" is less then "quelques". So I guess you would say:

un peu -- a few
quelques -- several

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

I thought you used un peu for a few, not quelques.

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AregB2Kwiziq community member

J'aime ________ styles de musique. Quelle répomse est just: "de nombreuses" ou "de nombreux". On a "la style" ici?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Areg !

The word "style" is masculine in French = le style, hence the correct answer is:

J'aime de nombreux styles de musique.

 

Bonne journée !

J'aime ________ styles de musique. Quelle répomse est just: "de nombreuses" ou "de nombreux". On a "la style" ici?

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RachelA1Kwiziq community member

Are these terms pronouns that can stand alone, or must they be followed by a noun?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rachel,

These pronouns do go with nouns,

plusieurs amis, certaines personnes, quelques livres...

Even in the example given by Chris, the 'en' replaces the noun 'amis'.

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Alan,

'Plusieurs' is probably the exception here... but the noun 'people' is implied here. 

Thank you for bringing it to our attention...

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Rachel,

i can't think of a good example where they wouldn't be followed by a noun. Maybe something like this?

Combien d'amis avez-vous? -- J'en ai plusieurs. 

What did you have in mind?

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

What about:

Plusieurs croient que ...

Are these terms pronouns that can stand alone, or must they be followed by a noun?

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AnnieA2Kwiziq community member

Few/Several

What English dialect is Kwiziq based on? My sociolect most definitely does not contain this silly "few is slightly less than several". Few is the opposite of many, it is not in a scale with several. Several means more than one, although usually 3 or more. I get that you are looking for a way to separate out the feel of scale in the French words, but it just doesn't work.
Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team member

Hi Annie - this is definitely something that is down to personal interpretation so I'm not surprised that you don't find it quite matches your internal semantics. English is also far less precise than French. That said, there is a rough hierarchy to English quantities that works for many people.

There's an interesting write up here:

https://www.writerightwords.com/write-right-couple-few-some-several-many/ 

But, as I said, this isn't a law so it either fits with how you use the words, or not. Also I think "a few" is different to "few", which may help? For me, a few is definitely less than several. I guess it depends on the context as well though.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

To me, a few represents a tighter restriction than several. If I said, "I have several of them.", it could mean a few or a bit more than a few.

-- Chris. 

BrendaB1Kwiziq community member

I am a native American English speaker. ‘Few’ and ‘several’ are the same to me. Equal to around 3. As a result, I am having a hard time ‘splitting the hairs’ between the two French words in this lesson!

Few/Several

What English dialect is Kwiziq based on? My sociolect most definitely does not contain this silly "few is slightly less than several". Few is the opposite of many, it is not in a scale with several. Several means more than one, although usually 3 or more. I get that you are looking for a way to separate out the feel of scale in the French words, but it just doesn't work.

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HannaB2Kwiziq community member

How do these work with en?

If you want the quantifier to be a direct object, would you use it like: Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier ---> Paul en a bu quelques hier ??
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Hanna ! Actually, "quelques" is a special case here, as you would need to add "-un(e)s" as such: "Paul en a bu quelques-uns hier." -> Though note that this isn't at all colloquial to say "He's had a few.". In French, to express this idea, you'll rather say "Il a pas mal bu hier." or "Il a bien bu.". You can say "Il en a bu plusieurs." but not "Il en a bu de nombreux." => you'll say "Il en a bu beaucoup." instead :) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

How do these work with en?

If you want the quantifier to be a direct object, would you use it like: Paul a bu quelques verres de vin hier ---> Paul en a bu quelques hier ??

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KathyB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Pas mal de ...

Bonjour, I've heard that one can use "pas mal de ..." to indicate "quite a lot", and I just want to confirm this is correct. For example: "Il y avait pas mal de monde à la fête". Merci ! Kathy
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Kathy ! Indeed, this is correct. You use the expression "pas mal de" (= quite a lot of) as a quasi-synonym to "beaucoup de" or "plein de" = a lot of. Here's another example: "Il a pas mal de BDs dans sa chambre." (He has quite a lot of graphic novels in his bedroom.) À bientôt !

Pas mal de ...

Bonjour, I've heard that one can use "pas mal de ..." to indicate "quite a lot", and I just want to confirm this is correct. For example: "Il y avait pas mal de monde à la fête". Merci ! Kathy

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JulieC1Kwiziq community member

De nombreuse/nombreux

How does this differ from "beaucoup de"?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Julie,

They are very similar.

beaucoup de = a lot, many

vs

de nombreux = numerous

JonathanB2Kwiziq community member

"beaucoup" is not accepted as a correct translation, when it should and would be used more often for "many."

De nombreuse/nombreux

How does this differ from "beaucoup de"?

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