job interview English

Do you have a few great skills to talk about in a job interview?

Do you have little experience but feel as though you are a fast learner?

The use of “few” or “little” in English can be a confusing topic and one that you really want to master, particularly before a job interview.

Aubrey is here with the latest installment in her grammar series, and today she’s going to help you to understand this important aspect of English.

This will prove to be important in conversations, particularly if you are interviewing for a new job.

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A Common Numerical Mistake In Conversation

If you have ever heard people talk in conversation about “a few” or “little” this may seem a bit confusing.

This is one of those aspects of English where you might not realize that one is a mistake in a certain instance.

Though using “few” or “little” may be quite common, there are times when each one is correct or incorrect.

Why wouldn’t you say “What are a little things you look for?”

This is a perfect example because it’s about count/noncount nouns.

Today we’re going to tell you when to use a few, a little, few and little because they all have their place in conversation.

When used correctly, these sound impressive and add polish to your speech.

These present excellent way to impress during a job interview in particular!

Proper grammar is such an important thing to get right in business emails and letters, and it starts from that very important first interview.

If you’re like many people learning English, this can be a confusing aspect of it all.

We’re going to help you to understand how to use each one, and when each one is appropriate.

As a general rule, use a few when talking about things you can count.

You could say something like a few projects, but saying a little for things doesn’t work because you can’t count them.

You can say a little effort because that works perfectly there.

Few and little with no article works such as in “less than expected.”

You could say “I have little experience, but am a hard worker!”

You will come to understand this better with the examples stated below–this will all make sense and you will come to really understand an important part of English!

Why Is This So Important?

Initially this may seem like something trivial, or not really that important.

Why does it matter which word you use in these situations?

These expressions especially few and little with no article sound impressive and high level!

When you use them in the right way, they show off your speaking skills.

You sound polished, professional, and very articulate when you use them in the right way.

If you use them incorrectly though, they can take things down a level.

Through no fault of your own, you may come across as less educated or inarticulate if you use them the wrong way.

So they truly are that important in conversation, and you want to be sure that you are using them correctly.

We’ll look at some example sentences that can be used during job interviews so that you have a good point of reference.

You can use these at work and in regular conversation as well, and so they play a rather significant role in your English usage.

These little tweaks can make a big difference in your speaking and your mastery in English overall.

Looking At Some Examples and Rules

It can be helpful in situations like this to look at some examples.

It may be hard to envision this difference until you see it in examples, and then you know how to adjust this in your conversations.

You will see in these examples how it works, and what you can do to say this the right way.

1. A few: This typically means about 3-5. For 2 we’d say “a couple”, and for more than 5 we’d say “several”. This is used for count nouns. You would say something like a few years, a few options, and so on.

  • An example of this in an interview could go something like this: “I have a few skills that are particularly suited to this position.” Maybe contrast with mistake using ‘few skills’ and how the meaning would be super different.

2. A little: This is used for noncount nouns. This means a small amount or a bit; not a lot. Think of this with things like saying a little experience, a little energy, or things of that nature.

  • In an interview you could say this in an example like this “Though my resume is a little sparse , I assure you that I am qualified for this role.”

3. Few: When you use it without that article “a” the meaning changes a lot. Use this for countable nouns as that’s the best place for it. Think of it in examples such as few jobs, few opportunities, and other such things. It means not very many and less than you’d expect.

  • In an interview you could say something like “As there are few available positions in my field, I am particularly motivated to learn about the job being offered.”

4. Little: Use this for uncountable nouns. You would use it to say something like little experience or little drive.

  • In an interview you could say “Due to my youthful appearance you may assume I have little experience, but I have actually worked several years as an engineer.”

These rules will help you to use each word in the right way.

Sometimes it can help to sound it out and say it aloud to yourself to see which one fits better.

Though this may be a confusing aspect of English, you will get the hang of it the more that you use it in conversations.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Aubrey is interviewing Lindsay for an open job position.

This is a typical scenario that you can expect to be in if you are interviewing for a new job.

Aubrey: “Why are you interested in the position?”

Lindsay: “I have a few reasons. First, I’d like to gain a little experience. Second, your company is one of very few that are making interesting strides in this industry. Third, I’d like to push myself to grow, and there is little to gain by staying at my current job.”

Aubrey: “According to your resume, you recently finished your degree and have not yet worked in this field.”

Lindsay: “It is true that I have little job experience, and I have had few opportunities to work in this field. However, I have a few skills that set me apart.”

Aubrey: “What can you offer that other applicants cannot?”

Lindsay: “I have several ideas that can streamline your processes and I’d love to share them!”

Takeaway

Using “few” and “little” correctly adds polish and a high level professional tone to job interviews.

This shows a prospective employer that you have mastery of the English language, and that you are a polished professional.

If you use these incorrectly, your speech won’t sound as sophisticated, and it may highlight that you are still in the learning process.

This may appear to the interviewer that your language level is lower, and therefore may not be the best impression.

You want to show them that you are the perfect candidate, and that’s in how you present yourself and the way that you speak.

Impress them by using few and little in the right way to sound professional and native, and it will go a long way.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back with you as soon as we can.

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