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Quite a few employees?



 
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Quite a few employees? #1 (permalink) Sat Oct 29, 2011 15:40 pm   Quite a few employees?
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #232 "Adverbs of Quantity (5)", question 1

Quite a ......... employees are not happy with the new boss' attitude. Let's talk to the boss about it.

(a) some
(b) many
(c) few
(d) numerous

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #232 "Adverbs of Quantity (5)", answer 1

Quite a few employees are not happy with the new boss' attitude. Let's talk to the boss about it.

Correct answer: (c) few

Your answer was: incorrect
Quite a numerous employees are not happy with the new boss' attitude. Let's talk to the boss about it.
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Can you explain why we can't use "numerous" here?
Thank you.
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Quite a few employees? #2 (permalink) Sat Oct 29, 2011 15:46 pm   Quite a few employees?
 

That's because of the 'quite a' part of the sentence.

Without it, 'numerous' would work:
Numerous (a number of) employees are not happy...

Once you add 'quite a' then we cannot say 'numerous' because 'numerous' stands for 'a number of', so it would be saying
Quite a a number of... which doesn't make sense.

Quite a few...
A number of...
Numerous...
would all work as sentence starters here, and they all mean more or less the same, but you have to change the whole phrase, not just a part of it.
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