As in the phrase "I don't plan to retire for another few years"

  • 1
    Can't tell without the context. In this economy it could mean "I have to work until I drop dead." – deadrat May 5 '16 at 21:56
  • 3
    It basically means "for a few more years". – Hot Licks May 5 '16 at 22:20
  • I've always seen "few" used to mean 3 or more, but less than 7 to 10 (that's usually called "several"). – Joe L. May 5 '16 at 22:58
  • Thank you everybody. The full comment was I don't plan to retire for another few years. The definition of few is less than 3 but when prefaced by the letter A or the word another it can mean a much larger number. What are your thoughts? – Scott May 6 '16 at 14:58
  • (1) Please don’t use comments to clarify your question; edit the question instead. (2) AFAIK, putting “a” before “few” does not change its meaning. However, “another” is a more complex, subtle word. (3) I’m not sure whether I agree with it 100%, but lux’s answer seems to be on the right track. (4) My feeling is that people use “another few” in conjunction with another event or time frame; e.g., “I’ll be fully vested in the pension plan in 1½ years; I don’t plan to retire for another few years after that.” – no relation – Scott May 9 '16 at 19:14

This is completely anecdotal, but I find that when people use this type of phrasing it generally means that they'll revisit a decision at a later date, but it's not imperative that the matter be decided upon right now. By phrasing I mean anything along the lines of:

I'll know if I'm going in a few hours.

I don't plan on moving until my kids are out of school in another few years.

Again, these types of phrases indicate that a decision must be made in the future, but it's not important for the moment at hand.

In the context of your question, I'd say the individual has obvious plans to retire, but the action of making the decision to retire will be delayed by several years for what I suspect is a variety of reasons.

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