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




Hi Peter

Good afternoon. I have seen your very clear comments. i have one confusion, in your comments, you say ' a very satisfactory rule' So, what is the difference between satificatory and satisfied?

Many thanks


Hello again Yao Mou,

Have you looked up the two words in the dictionary? In general, something that is satisfactory causes satisfaction, whereas a person is satisfied with something. I think that should clarify their use, but if not, please let us know.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,
I've read your reply above and I see the point. But if I have such an example in a test (e.g. FCE), which form should I choose not to make a mistake? I think singular will be correct according to the rule. What do you think?

All the best,

Hello graduate,

I would recommend using 'are' here as the version with 'am' sounds highly unnatural and is certainly not standard use in modern English. As I said, the plural form is already accepted and is slowly becoming the standard.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening.Can you explain please what is the difference between "Both the supermarkets were closed" and Both of the supermarkets were closed" or "All the" and "All of the"

Hello Elvininho,

There is no difference in meaning here. The term 'both' necessarily refers to an identified pair (two). There is a difference between 'Many supermarkets...' and 'Many of the supermarkets...', as the first is about supermarkets in general and the second about a particular group of supermarkets, already identified.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thank you for your prompt answer. One more question then: how can I differentiate the difference in the meanings in the following context:
We don't have to play musical chairs at the party. There are ........... kinds of other games the children can play.
The task is to choose between "all" and "many". Now I understand why "all" is correct, but how what are the contextual reasons to prefer "all" to "many"?

Thanks in advance.

Hello graduate,

I don't know what the writer could have in mind here, but I'd say there's not much difference between them except that 'all' is more colloquial (and thus perhaps a bit more natural) than 'many' here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Kirk!

Here's another problem. *The car costs too much for me to buy. - I feel it's not correct with 'cost... for+infinitive' construction. It' better with 'expensive'. Am I right? On the other hand, I can't find any rules about this usage of 'cost'. Could you possibly explain?

Keep well!

Hello graduate,

You're welcome! The sentence you ask about looks OK to me. Perhaps I'd just say 'The car costs too much for me' (since 'to buy' is already implied), but it's fine to say 'it costs too much'. You could also say 'It's too expensive', but I'd say 'It costs too much' (which can also mean that the price of the car is not reasonable) or 'I can't afford it' are more common. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team