Talk:fewest

From Wiktionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Determiner or Adjective[change]

Few and its inflections, fewer and fewest are intermediate between determiners and adjectives. The meaning is very determiner-like. They also function in sentences that don't work with adjectives. Consider the following examples:

  1. So few people have come.
  2. *So big people have come.
  3. I can't believe how few people seem to have come.
  4. *I can't believe how big people seem to have come.

They can also occur in partative constructions.

  1. one/three/which/few of them is/are...
  2. * big of the is/are

On the other hand, they have many properties typical of adjectives: they inflect, can co-occur with articles, can be modified by very and can occur as predicate complements,

  1. Those who can do so are few.
  2. Those who can do so are great.
  3. * Those who can do so are this.

I'll follow the lead of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston & Pullum, eds., 2002), which concludes that they are determiners.