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

Hello, please sir, am so confused about the correctness of these two sentences just because of the "percentage". I don't know which I should use in these two verbs: ARE or IS. Please help.

1) 45% (percent) of the girls in the class ARE busy doing nothing.
2) 45% (percent) of the girls in the class IS busy doing nothing.

Please, which of the sentence above is correct?
Thanks.

Hello roc1,

The verb depends upon the noun in the sentence:

45% of the girls are... [as 'girls' is plural]

45% of the money is... [as 'money' is singular]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello roc1,

The verb depends upon the noun in the sentence:

45% of the girls are... [as 'girls' is plural]

45% of the money is... [as 'money' is singular]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

In this frase: He knows ____ English. He knows enough English to manage.
Can i use "lots of" as a quantifier? And if i don't why?

Thanks

Hi Quezia Damaris Vasconcelos,

The sentence 'He knows lots of English' is perfectly fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
Would you please explain this to me?
A cow is a useful animal.= Cows are useful animals.
The cow is a useful animal. = Cows are useful animals.
Either we use A or The it gives the same meaning.
I am I right or wrong?
THANK YOU.
REGARDS

Hello Andrew international,

Yes, that's right, all three sentences can mean essentially the same thing, though within different contexts they can mean different things. Of the three forms, the most commonly used one is with the plural subject with no article ('Cows are ...').

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Example:
Few snakes are dangerous
Few of snakes are dangerous
I don't understand difference between members of group and specific group.
Please let me know.
Thanks,

Hello thaonguyen2314,

Take a look at these two sentences:

Few snakes are dangerous.

This means that not many snakes are dangerous - it is talking about snakes in general.

Few of the snakes are dangerous.

This means that not many of a particular group of snakes are dangerous. It does not refer to snakes in general, but only some snakes. For example, you might be talking about the snakes in a particular zoo, or the snakes which live in Britain. Unlike the first sentence this describes a selected group - which group should be clear from the context.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

When do we use few and a few?

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