too few

Are these sentences correct:

[color=red]1) We had few men to count the votes. That is why counting the votes took longer than it was supposed to.
[color=indigo]2) We had too few men to count the votes. That is why counting the votes took longer than it was supposed to.

[color=red]3) We had few men to build a house. So we built a small shed instead.

[color=indigo]4) We had too few men to build a house. So we built a small shed instead.

In ‘1’ and ‘2’ ‘the men’ are doing the counting. In ‘3’ and ‘4’, we want to build a house and the men work for us.

Gratefully,
Navi.

Thank you Canadian45.

It was just to point to the sentences; to show what ‘these sentences’ were. When I started asking questions on the net, I hesitated between a colon and a question mark and opted for the colon, thinking it would make it clear which sentences I was asking about. I was, after all, providing a list of sentences. I have done that on many sites and it doesn’t seem to bother people. The point is clarity and people get what I mean. But maybe it would be better to write:
Are the following sentences correct?

I will try to do that from now on, at least on this site, although old habits die hard.
I will try to keep that in mind.

Respectfully,
Navi.

Navi, please don’t feel you have to change your habits just to please one pedant who cannot accept how language evolves.

[color=blue]You are totally wrong! Ending a question sentence with a colon is not language evolution; it is just completely wrong. You are a complete disgrace to English education.

You should just go away.

Hi Navi,

Your sentences are okay, by the way, though 1 could be recast to give it a more ‘natural’ feel with the addition of ‘only’, like this:
We only had a few men to count the votes …
and 3 would be more ‘natural’ in the negative, like this:
We didn’t have enough men to build a house …

Thank you very much Beeesneees.

Hello Canadian45.

I have always appreciated your replies to my questions. I have to say that Beeesneees’s replies to my questions have also always been very helpful. She has been answering my questions -some of which are a bit silly or obsessive- extremely patiently for a very long time and I have always taken her replies very seriously. She seems to be the number one contributor to this site. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in thinking that she is quite essential to this forum. That does not mean that I do not appreciate your replies or take them seriously. Not at all. But I really would not want to see this forum without Beeesneees. I wouldn’t want to see it without you either, mind you. But given what has been said, I would like to say that Beeesneees has been a major cornerstone of this forum ever since I joined it. I am sure that many of the users (if not all) will agree with me.

I can see that punctuation is important to you. It is important to me too and I believe that in cases where altering the punctuation might alter the meaning, utmost care has to be applied to it. But in this case, there is no way that misunderstanding could arise because of my choice of punctuation. I understand that it is an important issue for you. But different people seem to have different viewpoints on the matter.

I know that I am a non-native speaker, but we do use punctuation in my language as well. I can see the need for a question mark in a question, but here I am presenting a list of sentences (in some cases my lists are pretty darn long) and I put a colon to indicate that a list is coming up. It might not be the best choice, I will grant you that, but it does not seem to bother anyone that much. I have posted many many questions on many forums.

I respect your viewpoint and see the logic to it. I just think that it could co-exist with other viewpoints. As I said, the meaning is clear and my ‘bad’ punctuation does not have any semantic effect.

Language is a slippery thing. In a lot of cases, there can be different viewpoints. Only in forums such as this do we notice such discrepancies. Indeed at time they might even seem shocking to us. This has happened to me when tackling issues in my own mother tongue. One person says a sentence is correct and the other one finds it outrageously incorrect.

Thank you very much for your replies.
Navi.

LOL! You surpass your previously displayed levels of poor judgement.

[color=blue]You are truly clueless!
It is obvious that some others on this site want nothing to do with you! You are so clueless that you will probably be surprised to learn that I have received unsolicited negative comments about you!

Do you really mean ‘principles’ ?

[color=blue]That’s what I wrote, but possibly ‘principals’ is more correct. I am used to seeing both forms when referring to people.

She certainly is!

That’s such an easy mistake to make. No biggie, right?

Not at all. Neither would it worry me.
Those that matter know better - and those that matter don’t act in that way.

Hi Navy,

I quite agree with you!

You express your opinions in English so well as if you were a native English speaker. (Anyway, it seemed to me). I admit you command English very well!
Navi, could you please tell me where you come from?

 Thanks in advance :-)

*http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/51485/sentences-ending-with-both-a-colon-and-a-question-mark

Hi Navy,

I quite agree with you!

 Yes, I believe your choice of punctuation does not have any negative impact on the main issue and, as you said, it does not bother people either, indeed. However, I have done a little research in this respect and have come to a conclusion that Canadian seems to be right about that.*

You express your opinions in English so well as if you were a native English speaker. (Anyway, it seemed to me). I admit you command English very well!

Navi, could you please tell me where you come from?

Neither would I! I, personally, would not want to see this forum without James M and Dozy either. The latter has not appeared on this Forum for a long time. Where has he disappeared? (;-

Could anybody know?

*http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/51485/sentences-ending-with-both-a-colon-and-a-question-mark

Dozy was fed up with the technical problems plaguing this site. At the time there were also large scale spam attacks. If you look at his last few posts, he said several times that unless the matter improved he would stop using the site.
The person I would like to see return to the forum is ESL_Expert. Sadly, her contributions were not valued enough by certain people and she moved on to other forums.

Foreigner, thanks for the link. If you read it carefully you will see that it shows that it is possible to use either a question mark or a colon, but not both together.

[quote=“Beeesneees”]

Foreigner, thanks for the link. If you read it carefully you will see that it shows that it is possible [color=blue]Anything is “possible”; we are talking about right and wrong! to use either a question mark or a colon, but not both together. [color=blue]Oh really, even you are not clueless enough to use both! But anyone who would use a colon (instead of a question mark) at the end of a question sentence should not be allowed in an ESL site!