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 Sir,

Could you please explain me this sentence 'He has stolen one of my books'. Here, does 'one of my' act as quantifier? And if I want to further break down the phrase, please help me to identify the classification of each word. For example, 'my' here is possessive adjective, 'of' is preposition, and 'one' is article or pronoun? Is this correct sir? They're all confusing to me.

Thank you very much and best regards,

Trang

Hello huyentrangluu,

In this case, 'one of' is a quantifier, which is a kind of determiner, and 'my' is a possessive adjective. Note that noun phrases that follow 'one of' always have another determiner of some sort (e.g. 'my', 'these', etc.), so the word 'my' or some other determiner is needed here. 

By the way, if you're interested in this topic, a good resource is the English determiners article in the wikipedia.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
in the sentence "There are only few players in the world with his skill." the subject is plural, i think 'their skill' would be used instead of 'his skill' to balance the sentence. and the other reason i think that in this sentence we even don't know about players gender. please help me why you use 'his' here.....

Regards,
Muhammad Husnain

Hello Muhammad,

I'm not sure what the context for this sentence is, but it sounds as if it's referring to one particular player and comparing him to others. More specifically, it's saying that his skill is almost unique, i.e. there are a few other players who have it, but not many. Saying 'their' instead of 'his' would change the meaning of the sentence to something different. 

As for your point about gender, I don't have the context for this sentence, but it sounds as if it's referring to professional athletes, who normally play in single-sex leagues, which makes comparing them to players of the other sex quite difficult. In the end, since this sentence is probably less about gender equality than the player's skill within his particular context, the author probably chose not to pursue that issue any further. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk,

Now I can understand this sentence much clearly, thanks a lot for explaining it with scenario.

Best regards,
Muhammad Husnain

Dear Sir,
Can the negative quantifier ‘no’ come before singular countables; i.e. are sentences like
‘I have a cat but I have no dog’ OR
'My friend has no bicycle' OR
‘There is no TV set in the room’ quite standard?
Best regards,
Andrey

Hello Andrey,

Count nouns after 'no' tend to be plural, but can be singular. The singular ones sound slightly unusual, but of course if you're only speaking of one person or thing, it must be singular! Please note that 'no' is usually used to emphasise a negative idea; a negative verb plus 'any' are used more commonly – so while these sentences are all perfectly correct, they have some sort of emphasis in them. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
May I use the negative quantifier 'no' with other quantifiers or numerals before the noun?
E.g. can I make phrases like:
There were no two men in the room.
There were no a lot of people in the room.
If I cannot, will you please give me the correct variants of the phrases?
And, perhaps a more general question: can anything at all stand between 'no' and the noun?

Hello Dad Andrew,

To answer you general question first, off the top of my head, I can't think of any other determiners or quantifiers that could stand between 'no' and the noun it modifies, but other words are possible, e.g. adjectives: 'There are no black dresses left in the shop'. Neither of the sentences you ask about is standard – in both cases, if you change 'no' to 'not' (which negates the verb), then the sentences would be correct. 

All the best,
Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
Thank you for your answer. You've totally clarified the point. I suspected it must be like you say; I only wanted to be sure. The only sentence with other determiners between 'no' and the noun I've seen is: There are no two ways about it. This is a bit artificial though.
Thanks again and best regards,
Andrey

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