few vs a few
before Countable Noun
Few, when used without a preceding a, means "very few" or "none at all".
On the other hand, a few is used to indicate "not a large number". The difference is subtle, yet there are instances where the two can mean completely opposite things.
I have a few objections to the students' proposal. It implies that I am not on board with the students' proposal. I have some objections, but not so many as to say "I have several objections...". Nevertheless, I have objections that need to be addressed.
I have few objections to the students' proposal. It is a more positive statement that implies I am more or less on board with the proposal. It is not a whole-hearted endorsement, but I barely have any objections at all.
In a nutshell:
few = not enough
e.g. This machine is hard to use. There are few suggestions about how to use it.
a few = small number
e.g. This machine is easy to use. There are a few suggestions about how to use it.