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

 

Comments

Dear sir,
Could you tell me the difference between either and neither? I need to know the uses of each one

Hi omarmohamed99,

'neither' has a negative meaning, whereas 'either' speaks about one or both of two objects or people. Have you looked up these two words in the dictionary (follow the links)? The definitions and example sentences would probably be quite helpful. If you have a specific question about one or the other of them, please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I went through your website well. I understood that each, every, either, neither etc takes singular verbs. I am writing my own sentences. Please let me know they right or wrong because still I have doubts. For eg. Each boy and girl has a toy. Not have. Every boy and girl has a toy. Either your brother or sister has come. Either your brothers or sister has come. Either your brother or sisters have come.
The verb is singular or plural depends on the noun after 'or.' I am I right or wrong plase let me know. It is the same with 'nor' (neither).
Thank you.
Regards

Dear Sir
I would like to know using 'a lot of and lots of eg A lot of snakes are dangerous. Lots of
snakes are dangerous. If both sentences are correct ? I would like to know the difference and also A few of them are students. Few of them are students.
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hello Andrew international,

'A lot of' and 'lots of' have the same meaning but differ in terms of formality. 'Lots of' is more informal; 'a lot of' is neutral and can be used in both formal and informal contexts.

There is a difference between 'a few' and 'few'. 'Few' suggests not enough:

There are a few people in the square. [there is a number of people]

There are few people in the square. [there are not many - less than we expected or wanted]

 

The same distinction is true of 'a little' and 'little' for uncount nouns:

Sure I can help you. I've got a little time.

I'm afraid I have very little time today so we can't meet.

 

You can read more about this on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I went through the above website (both, either, neither, each, every)
I am asking your help to clear the following: Every boy has a computer. Each boy has a computer. Are these two sentences correct? Can I use 'every' for persons or only for things? I understood 'every can be any number and also each can be any number.
Thank you.

Hello Andrew international,

Yes, your sentences are both correct. 'every' can be used to modify both singular words for people and things.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi dears,
in the above activity , May you please to explain more why we use "some" instead of "an " in this example (Could you give me .................... advice?) ?

Regards
Nour

Hi Nour,

The noun 'advice' is an uncount noun. We never say 'one advice' or 'an advice'. We can say 'some advice' or 'a piece of advice'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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