Quelque, quelques

French Grammar (see all French Grammar tips)

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Quelque, quelques

Quelque, used as an adjective, means ‘some’ or ‘a few’. It agrees with the noun.
Il y a quelques années, j’ai escaladé le mont Blanc. A few years ago, I climbed Mont Blanc. (quelques agrees with années)
Je sais dire quelques mots en français. I know how to say a few words in French.

Quelque, used as an adverb, means ‘some’, ‘around’ or ‘about’. It is invariable and doesn’t need to agree. This use is quite formal, and you’ll encounter it in written form.
La plage est à quelque deux cent mètres d’ici. The beach is around 200 metres from here.
Il y a quelque 65 millions d’années que les dinosaures ont disparu. Around 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs disappeared.

Quelque is also used in some common expressions, and is always invariable: Quelque part (somewhere), quelque temps (some time), en quelque sorte (as it were, in a way), quelque chose (something), quelquefois (sometimes, occasionally).
Tu veux me dire quelque chose ? Do you want to tell me something?
Depuis quelque temps, je n’arrive plus à dormir. For some time I can’t get to sleep.

Special case: The expression et quelque(s) means ‘and then some’ or ‘and a bit more’. It agrees with the word it accompanies.
Je gagne deux mille euros et quelques par mois I earn 2,000 euros and a bit per month. (quelques with the plural euros)
Il y a un an et quelque que je suis célibataire Just over a year ago I was single. (quelque agrees with the singular an)

Note: As an adjective, quelque can also mean ‘a certain’ or ‘some’ (i.e. someone we don’t know the identity of). This is very literary, and is rarely used.
Quelque ami de mon frère est venu dîner hier. A certain friend of my brother came to dinner yesterday evening.


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