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

Hi dears,
in the above activity , May you please to explain more why we use "some" instead of "an " in this example (Could you give me .................... advice?) ?

Regards
Nour

Hi Nour,

The noun 'advice' is an uncount noun. We never say 'one advice' or 'an advice'. We can say 'some advice' or 'a piece of advice'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I was wondering why you've included 'less' into the group which can be used with countable nouns... Although they can in the colloquial language, but we teach our students to stick to 'fewer'.

Hello Paul_the_teacher,

In our descriptions we try to describe language as it is used by the majority of speakers. In other words, as is standard in modern language analysis we provide a descriptive grammar rather than a prescriptive grammar. Traditionally 'less' was used with uncount nouns, as you say. However, language changes all the time and 'less' is now used with both count and uncount nouns, particularly in less formal speech (though it is not a colloquial form in the sense that 'loads of' and so on are. It is an example of the ongoing evolution of language and I think it is clear that this is a change which will only continue in the future until it becomes entirely standard.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi :) which of the following phrases is / are correct
1 a little cream
2 a little bit of cream
3 a little amount of cream
4 a small amount of cream
Are they synonymous
Are they used differently in different locations
Do they differ in formality
Thanks

Hi beckysyto,

Only the third phrase is incorrect. The first, second and fourth are all correct and have the same meaning. Perhaps the second is slightly less formal than the others but the difference is minimal.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Why is the 3rd phrase wrong?

Hello beckysyto,

We do not use 'little' as a modifier with for 'amount'. You can use 'large' or 'small' but not 'little'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi

Good afternoon! what is the differneces of each and every?

Thanks a million

Yao

Pages