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.


Choose the correct quantifier




Hello Yao Mou,

This is explained in detail on this Cambridge Dictionary page. Please have a look and then let us know if you have any more specific questions about it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

there's an idiom "as sure as eggs is eggs" (from oxford dictionary). could you explain why 'is', not 'are'?

best regards

Hello graduate,

I'm afraid I can't say much other than that this is a fixed expression that took this form many years ago. It might help to think of 'eggs' as a dish, in which case you could consider it singular.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
thank you for your answer!
Can I ask one more question? Is the question: 'What's that the boy is catching?' (in the picture) - correct or not?
I found two songs on the Net:
Paul McCartney - What's That You're Doing
A-ha Lyrics - What's That You're Doing To Yourself
Here we seem to have the same structure, but other people say my question about the boy sounds strange to them.

Best regards!

Hello graduate,

'What's that [thing] the boy is catching?' is grammatically correct, with 'that' as a pronoun, though I can see how others think it sounds strange. If it were a determiner or conjunction, then it wouldn't be correct. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Thank you! And with 'thing' the question must be: "What's that thing that (which) the boy is catching?" Right?

All the best,

Hello Julia,

You're welcome! Yes, you could use either 'which' or 'that' (or nothing) in the question, but not both.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

:)) of course not both!

You've been very helpful!

All the best,

Hi Team,

Could you please help to answer below question which makes me confused.
Which one is correct between these two sentences:

1. Neither you nor I am a student. OR
2. Neither you nor I are a student.

Thank you so much.

Hello Ade,

The rule which is often offered for agreement with neither... nor... is the following

a) the verb agrees with the subjects

b) where the subjects require different verbs, the verb agrees with the subject closest to it (i.e. the noun after nor)

However, this is not a very satisfactory rule for several reasons. First, it leads to odd sentences where one of the subjects is I, such as the one you quote. More importantly, it does not reflect the way the language is actually used. Plural verbs are far more common with the neither... nor... construction than singular verbs, even when two singular nouns are used.

Grammar is a descriptive system, reflecting the way language is actually used, not the way in which someone thinks it should be used. Therefore I would say that the second option, with are, is that which best reflects current English usage.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team