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

Hi,

I have some problem with either/neither. For example, which is the correct form:
"No one uses faxes anymore, typewriters either"
or
"No one uses faxes anymore, typewriters neither"?

Thanks
Alex

Hello Rahul Paul,

The explanation above describes the way that many English speakers use the language. Many English speakers use 'less' with count nouns, though traditionally this was incorrect and, as you point out in your Cambridge reference, many still regard it as incorrect. Indeed, it would be difficult to find it in print, but the author of this page was also thinking of what learners might hear English speakers say - and in speech, you can most certainly hear this quite often. So if you prefer to use 'less' only with uncount nouns, that's great, but don't be too surprised if you hear even native speakers use it with count nouns as well.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

have few interest in politics.
We don't have enough of information.
There are a little people still alive who remember the Great War
why these sentences are wrong???

Neither of the supermarkets was open.
I don’t think either of the supermarkets was open.
.....and why we use was withe two things supermarket(s) (was) isn't this plural word and should use were????????

Hello tala90,

'Interest' is an uncountable noun and so 'few' is incorrect. We would use 'little' here.


'Enough' is followed by a noun without 'of', unless the noun is a person or pronoun, or there is a determiner.  We would say '...enough words' but '...enough of my words', for example.

'People' is a countable noun and so 'little' is incorrect. We would use 'few' here.

'Either' takes a singular verb, not a plural verb.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Your answer was clarified a lot of things for me because the above article does not mention using FEW, BOTH, EVERY ... with countable nouns. Thank you

Hello Johnny,

You are welcome. Actally, the page does cover these points, in the sections headed

Some quantifiers can be used only with count nouns:

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Why is this sentence incorrect?
Neither of the houses is really what I want.

Hi prachyanee,

Are you talking about sentence 5 in the first exercise? When I check the answers, it shows this sentence as correct (which it is). Do you see something different?

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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