quantifiers

 

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
 

 
Decide if sentences are correct or incorrect
Choose the correct quantifier

 

Comments

Hello teacher,
1- please can you tell me the difference between:
Both the supermarkets were closed.
Both of supermarkets were closed.
Both of the supermarkets were closed.
2- Can I say:
None of the supermarkets was open instead of None of the supermarkets were open.

Hello,
I was wondering about these two examples, appearing on the page: "None of the supermarkets were open", "I don't think any of the supermarkets were open". Why "none" and "any" do not take the singular verb?

Thank you for your attention.

Hello dg7,

I'm not sure I can provide an answer as to 'why' this is the case, but it is one of the rules of the language.  I suppose the best reason would be that both 'none' and 'any' (used with countable nouns) are used to describe groups - none of the group - rather than individuals.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, sir
I have a question about using EITHER and NEITHER.
Above the table, the either and neither use, the 'supermarkets' is in plural, however, the note state that: nouns with either and neither have a SINGULAR verb.
so, how do I write?
1) I don’t think either of the supermarket's' was open.
2)I don’t think either of the supermarket was open. thank you sir.

Hi eva yeo,

either and neither always take a singular verb, but since either and neither refer to two things or people, often of + a noun phrase (e.g. of the supermarkets) comes after them. In any case, the subject of the verb is either or neither - that is why the verb is in singular despite there being a plural word (e.g. supermarkets) in the noun phrase.

The correct sentence is: "I don't think either of the supermarkets was open."

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Greetings everybody!
First of all I'd like to say THANK YOU for your useful and well-appreciated work.
Secondly...Just to let you know That I didn't get why in the last question of this page SOME is the correct  answer...
Please, could you give me AN advice?!  
:D

Hello niccolow,

Nice question!  The answer is that 'advice' is an uncountable noun, and therefore cannot be used with the indefinite article (as the indefinite article 'a' ('an') has the meaning 'one').  I hope I have provided AN answer which gives you SOME useful advice ;)

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, I have a problem on the position and usage of Quantifier 'ALL'. Here in this sentence would it be right to write as: "His voice shook with emotion, and it was so funny to hear him, that all we longed to laugh and to cry". Or should it be 'We all' with regards, Henry

Hello Henry,

The quantifier all generally comes before nouns, but the rules are a bit different for pronouns. You can say all of + personal pronoun (following your example, all of us) or pronoun + all when the pronoun is the object of a verb (e.g., he invited us all to a party).

It's a bit more complex when the pronoun is the subject of a verb (as it is in your sentence: we all longed to laugh...), because in this case it often goes with the verb in what is called mid-position (an example of this is: My friends have all gone home now). This can be a bit tricky, but you can always say all of us instead of we all if you're not sure.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Greetings to everybody. My name is Sumeet and I teach English Grammar for competitive exams. I have the following query regarding Determiners-
1) Will it be incorrect If I say that Quantifier is one of the categories of Determiners?
2) Could we say that all the Quantifiers are Determiner but not all the Determiners are Quantifiers?

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