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 again :D
Your last clarification was really perfect .. thank you a lot :)

Hi,
In the above example, 'all of the children' does not refer to any specific group'; it refers to all the children. Why don't we say ' all the children'? Similarly, 'all of his money' means 'all his money'. Then what is the use of 'of'? Kindly explain.

Hello naghmairam,

The basic difference between 1) 'all children' and 2) 'all of the children' (or 'all the children') is that 1 refers to children in general, i.e. a specific group of children has not been mentioned and 2 refers to a specific group of children that has already been mentioned. The word 'the' (not 'of') is what makes it clear that a specific group has been mentioned.

So, for example, I could say 'All children in Spain must go to school until they are 16'. This sentence refers to every child in Spain, not to those in one place or another inside Spain. But if I'm talking about a more specific group, e.g. the kids at a specific school, I'd say 'All the children learn to swim' or 'All of the children learn to swim' to refer to them.

After 'all', 'of' is usually optional - sometimes we say it, and sometimes we don't, with no change in meaning. But there is an important exception: if we use 'all' before a noun with no determiner (e.g. 'the' or 'her'), then 'of' is not used. For example, we can say 'all children', 'all the children', 'all of the children', 'all her children' but not 'all of children' (because there is no determiner such as 'the' or 'her').

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hi there,

E.g More than one student has tried this.

Can "more than, much than" be dubbed as quantifiers and "more than one" takes a singular verb?

Many thanks!

Hi Agnes Nguyen,

If 'more than one' is followed by a singular noun then the verb is singular:

More than one person is going to the party.

Sometimes there is a plural noun after it and then the verb is plural:

More than one of the people have agreed.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello, I would to know if the following sentence is correct: "I had no less than a hundred offers for my car".
If it is correct I have to ask why there is not "fewer" instead of "less" as there is a countable noun.

Hello manuel24,

As you suggest, 'fewer' is really the correct quantifier here (and not 'less', which is for uncount nouns). Many native speakers, however, often use 'less' where they should use 'fewer', so I wouldn't be surprised if you've seen or heard it somewhere.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you Kirk!

Good evening ,
In second sentence of the task " He has * time to play with his children" why the correct answer is the "little " and not the "few" ?

Thank you

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