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Quick answer
"Unas cuantas" is a phrase which is often translated as "a few", and "alguno" is an adjective which is often translated as "some". Learn more about the difference between "unas cuantas" and "alguno" below.
unas cuantas
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (adjective)
a. a few
Había unas cuantas personas dentro de la iglesia, pero la mayoría esperaban a la novia fuera.There were a few people inside the church, but most of them were waiting for the bride outside.
b. some
Han sobrado unas cuantas croquetas. ¿Por qué no te las llevas?There are some croquettes left. Why don't you take them with you?
2. (pronoun)
a. a few
¿Has estado muchas veces en París? - Solo unas cuantas.Have you been to Paris many times? - Just a few.
b. some
¿Se han secado todas las plantas? - Todas no, pero sí unas cuantas.Have all the plants dried up? - Not all of them, but some have.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
¿Cabemos todas en el minibús? - No, unas cuantas tendremos que tomar un taxi.Is there room for all of us in the minibus? - No, some of us will have to take a taxi.
No todas las madres asistieron a la reunión de la escuela, solo unas cuantas.Not all of the mothers attended the school meeting, just a few of them.
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An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (indeterminate)
a. some (in affirmative clauses)
Dime que traes alguna buena noticia.Tell me you have some good news.
b. any (in interrogative or negative clauses)
¿Tiene algún error mi ensayo?Does my essay have any errors?
c. a (in interrogative or negative clauses)
¿Tienes alguna camiseta que me puedes prestar?Do you have a shirt that you can lend me?
d. a few (plural)
Tenemos algunas bolsas, pero vamos a necesitar más.We have a few bags, but we'll be needing more.
2. (used for emphasis)
a. any
No tiene conocimiento alguno sobre programación.He doesn't have any knowledge about programming.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
3. (indeterminate thing)
a. any
Tengo muchos tomates en el jardín. ¿Quieres alguno?I have a lot of tomatoes in the garden. Would you like any?
4. (indeterminate person)
a. someone (in affirmative clauses)
¡Mamá¡ ¡Papá! Alguno tiene que ayudarme con mi tarea de matemáticas.Mom! Dad! Someone has to help me with my math homework.
b. somebody (in affirmative clauses)
Por favor que alguno le abra la puerta.Somebody please open the door for him.
c. anyone (in interrogative clauses)
¿Me puede ayudar alguno a cambiar una llanta pinchada?Can anyone help me change a flat tire?
d. anybody (in interrogative clauses)
De tantos chicos en la fiesta ¿viste a alguno que ya conocías?Out of all those guys at the party, did you see anybody you already knew?
e. one
Alguno de ustedes tiene que acompañarme.One of you has to come with me.
5. (in affirmative clauses; replacing plural nouns)
a. some
Algunos pensarán que este proyecto es inútil.Some may think that this project is useless.
b. some people
Algunos dirían que estamos locos por quedarnos aquí.Some people would say we're mad to stay here.
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