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Quick answer
"Uno" is an adjective which is often translated as "one", and "unos cuantos" is a phrase which is often translated as "some". Learn more about the difference between "uno" and "unos cuantos" below.
uno(
oo
-
noh
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (numeral or indefinite)
a. one
Me queda solo un dulce.I've only got one candy left.
Necesitamos una moneda más para completar el conjunto.We need one more coin to complete the set.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
2. (number)
a. one
Elige un número del uno al diez.Choose a number between one and ten.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
3. (numeral or indefinite)
a. one
¿Cuántas monedas necesitas? - Solo una.How many coins do you need? - Just one.
Compré uno para mí y otro para ti.I bought one for me and another for you.
4. (impersonal use)
a. one
Uno puede ganar mucho dinero al invertir.One can make a lot of money by investing.
b. you
Uno nunca sabe lo que puede salir de ahí.You never know what may come of it.
5. (unspecified person)
a. someone
Uno tocó el timbre, pero no respondí.Someone rang the doorbell, but I didn't answer.
b. somebody
Hablé con uno que sabe mucho acerca de la situación.I talked with somebody who knows a lot about the situation.
c. some (plural)
¿Todos los alumnos llegaron a tiempo? - Unos llegaron temprano y otros tarde.Did all the students arrive on time? - Some arrived early and others arrived late.
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unos cuantos
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (used as an adjective)
a. some
¿Me das unos cuantos caramelos de los tuyos?Can I have some of your candies?
b. a few
Unos cuantos niños jugaban a la pelota en el patio de recreo.A few kids were playing ball in the playground.
2. (used as a pronoun)
a. some
¿De quién son todos estos pantalones? - Unos cuantos son míos, y el resto, de mi hermano.Whose are all these pants? - Some are mine, and the rest are my brother's.
b. a few
Había muchos manifestantes, la mayoría pacíficos. Solo unos pocos provocaron incidentes.There were many demonstrators, most of them peaceful. Only a few stirred up some trouble.
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