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.


Decide if sentences are correct or incorrect
Choose the correct quantifier



dear sir
which one is correct
1)neither of them is
2)neither of them are

Hello hasheef,

In an informal context, a plural verb can be used, but in a formal context, you should use the singular verb.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

I am little bit confused with the usage of either and neither. They can be used interchangeably?

Could you please explain me with an example?

Ananth Krishna.

Hello Ananth Krishna,

'neither' inludes the idea of negation, whereas 'either' does not; 'not either' is often used with the same meaning as 'neither'. For example, in the example sentence with 'either', you'll note that the verb is negative (and therefore 'either' doesn't need to be negative), whereas in the one with 'neither', the verb is affirmative.

You can find examples of both in the dictionary – see the search box on the lower right side of this page.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Could you please tell me if it is necessary to use the article 'a' before 'little' in sentences.

For example,
1) I have little interest in politics
2) I have a little interest in politics
Which one of these sentences is correct, or are they both correct?

Thank you!

Hello dear BC Team,

after I read all comments about these quantifiers I can say that there are two questions that confusing me.

First: look at these sentences

1. Both the supermarkets...
2. Both of the supermarkets...
3. Both supermarkets...
4. Both of supermarkets...

First and second are about specific supermarkets and mean the same, and third is more general and the last one is not grammatically correct, right? And same applied for EITHER and NIETHER.

Second question:
Different BC authors explain the following problems in a different way.

Niether John nor his friend likeS football. (singular noun "friend" and because of that "likes")
Niether John nor his friends like football. (plural noun "friends" and because of that "like")

But another one says following:
Niether Tesco nor Safeways were open. ("Safeways is name of cafe and is singular) Please what is the rule for NIETHER...NOR concept?

Thank you for great web site and wonderful and clear comments!!

Hello swxswx,

Your understanding of the sentences in your first question is correct.

As for your second question, neither + a singular noun always takes a singular verb. neither of + plural noun/pronoun also usually takes a singular verb, especially in a more formal style; but in informal contexts, a plural verb can also be used here.

The same pattern is true in constructions with neither + singular noun + nor + a different singular noun, i.e. the verb is generally singular but the plural form is not uncommon in informal contexts. I expect this is the reason you've different patterns of use.

I hope this clears the issue up for you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team