We use quantifiers when we want to give someone information about the number of something: how much or how many.

Sometimes we use a quantifier in the place of a determiner:

Most children start school at the age of five.
We ate some bread and butter.
We saw lots of birds.

We use these quantifiers with both count and uncount nouns:

 

all any enough less a lot of lots of
more most no none of some  

 

and some more colloquial forms:

 

plenty of heaps of a load of loads of tons of  etc.

 

Some quantifiers can be used only with count nouns:

 

both each either (a) few fewer neither several

 

and some more colloquial forms:

 

a couple of hundreds of thousands of etc.

 

 

Some quantifiers can be used only with uncount nouns:

 

a little (not) much a bit of

 

And, particularly with abstract nouns such as time, money, trouble, etc:, we often use:

 

a great deal of a good deal of

 

Members of groups

You can put a noun after a quantifier when you are talking about members of a group in general…

Few snakes are dangerous.
Both brothers work with their father.
I never have enough money.

…but if you are talking about a specific group of people or things, use of the … as well

Few of the snakes are dangerous.
All of the children live at home.
He has spent all of his money.

Note that, if we are talking about two people or things we use the quantifiers both, either and neither:

 

One supermarket Two supermarkets* More than two supermarkets

The supermarket was closed

The supermarket wasn't open

I don’t think the supermarket was open.

Both the supermarkets were closed.

Neither of the supermarkets was open.

I don’t think either of the supermarkets was open.

All the supermarkets were closed

None of the supermarkets were open

I don't think any of the supermarkets were open

 

*Nouns with either and neither have a singular verb.

 
Singular quantifiers:

We use every or each with a singular noun to mean all:

 

There was a party in every street.  = There were parties in all the streets.
Every shop was decorated with flowers.  = All the shops were decorated with flowers.
Each child was given a prize.  = All the children were given a prize.
There was a prize in each competition.  = There were prizes in all the competitions.

 

We often use every to talk about times like days, weeks and years:

When we were children we had holidays at our grandmother’s every year.
When we stayed at my grandmother’s house we went to the beach every day.
We visit our daughter every Christmas.

BUT: We do not use a determiner with every and each. We do not say:

The every shop was decorated with flowers.
The each child was given a prize.

Activities
 

Choose the correct quantifier

 

Section: 

Comments

Dear Staff,

This lesson mentions "Each child was given a prize. = All the children were given a prize." Can the latter sentence be changed to "All the children were given prizes" without changing its meaning?

Thank you.

Hello learning,

There could be a slight change in meaning. 'a prize' clearly means each child got one prize. 'prizes' could mean that each child got more than one prize (it's not completely clear whether it's one or more than one prize for each).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Kirk,

Thanks. Per what you said earlier, I think "There was a prize in each competition. = There were prizes in all the competitions." should be changed to "There was a prize in each competition. = There was a prize in all the competitions."

Hello learning,

That depends on how many prizes are given in a competition. If there is only one prize per competition, then yes, 'There was a prize in each competition' is the sentence that states this most clearly.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir Peter M,
My question is that why didn't you put ''of'' between All and what it is after it and also between ''Both'' and what it is after it, although you have already mentioned that we must put ''of'' between Both or All if the intended is preceded by ''the''. What I am talking about is in the top of the second and third column .

Hello suliman ali 2000,

The use of 'of the' is explained at the bottom of the grammar explanation:

 

Members of groups

 

You can put a noun after a quantifier when you are talking about members of a group in general…

 

Few snakes are dangerous.
Both brothers work with their father.
I never have enough money.

 

…but if you are talking about a specific group of people or things, use of the … as well

 

Few of the snakes are dangerous.
All of the children live at home.
He has spent all of his money.

 

Note that, if we are talking about two people or things we use the quantifiers both, either and neither

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry, I wanted to say about the word All in the third column and Both in the second column. What about Both?..it is similar with all?

Hello suliman ali 2000,

We use 'both' when we are talking about two things and 'all' when we have three or more:

Both cars have ABS. [we are talking about two cars]

All of the cars are black. [we are talking about a group of cars of three or more]

All mammals have warm blood. [we are talking about every mammal without exception]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Please let me know why didn't you put the preposition''of'' between All and The in the sentences in the second and third columns which are about the supermarkets...??
And thank you

Hello suliman ali 2000,

You can say 'all of the supermarkets' instead of 'all the supermarkets' and that is correct. The second column doesn't have 'all' in any sentence. Or do you see something different?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pages