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Quantifiers

Level: beginner

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.

Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns

We can use these quantifiers with both count and uncount nouns:

all some more a lot of enough
no any most lots of less

We have lots of time.
Joe has lots of friends.
I can't go out. I've got no money.
There was a lot of food but no drinks.

Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 1

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Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 2

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Level: intermediate

These more colloquial forms are also used with both count and uncount nouns:

plenty of heaps of  a load of  loads of  tons of

We have loads of time.
Joe has plenty of friends.
There was heaps of food.

Level: beginner

some and any

We do not normally use the quantifier some in negative and interrogative sentences. We normally use any:

Do you have any children?
Did you see any friends?
We don't have any children.
I didn't see any friends.
We saw some lions at the zoo, but we didn't see any tigers.

but we can use some for offers and requests:

Would you like some tea?
I want some apples, please.

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Quantifiers with count nouns

Some quantifiers can be used only with count nouns:

(not) many each either (a) few
several both neither fewer 

These more colloquial forms are used only with count nouns:

a couple of hundreds of thousands of

I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.
There were hundreds of people at the meeting.

Quantifiers with uncount nouns

Some quantifiers can be used only with uncount nouns:

(not) much a bit of a little

Would you like a little wine?
Could I have a bit of butter, please?

These quantifiers are used particularly with abstract nouns such as time, money and trouble:

a great deal of a good deal of

It will probably cost a great deal of money.
He spent a good deal of time watching television.

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Level: intermediate

Members of groups

We put a noun directly after a quantifier when we are talking about members of a group in general:

Few snakes are dangerous.
Most children like chocolate.
I never have enough money.

but if we are talking about members of a specific group, we use of the as well:

Few of the snakes in this zoo are dangerous.
Most of the boys at my school play football.
He’s spent all (of) the money that we gave him.
Both (of) the chairs in my office are broken.

Note: with all and both, we don’t need to use of. We can say all the … and both the … .

both, either and neither

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.

Both the supermarkets
were closed.

All the supermarkets
were closed.

The supermarket
wasn’t open.

Neither of the supermarkets
was open.

None of the supermarkets
were open.

I don’t think the supermarket
was open.

I don’t think either of the supermarkets
was open.

I don’t think any of the supermarkets
were open.

Note that nouns with both have a plural verb but nouns with either and neither have a singular verb.

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every and each

We use the quantifiers every and each with singular nouns 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.

We do not use a determiner with every and each:

Every shop was decorated with flowers. (NOT The every shop)
Each child was given a prize. (NOT The each child)

Comments

why this sentence is not correct in the exercise?
We don't have enough of information.

and this
have spent hundreds of money on repairs.

Hi Valeria0706,

"enough of" is only used before pronouns or determiners. Sentence 9 in the first exercise is incorrect because the word after "enough of" ("information") is a noun, not a pronoun or determiner.

In sentence 10, "hundreds of" is incorrect because the word it modifies ("money") is an uncount noun. If you look in the explanation, you'll see that "hundreds of" is in the class of quantifiers that can only be used with count nouns.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Can you please explain the use of "the" which is mentioned in the "Members of Groups" section?

Hello Gamaya,

As the explanation says, we use 'of the' when we are talking about a specific group of people or things. To understand this, it is useful to contrast similar examples:

'Few snakes are dangerous.' [a statement about snakes in general]
'Few of the snakes are dangerous.' [a statement about a specific group of snakes, e.g. the snakes in a certain country, or the snakes in a particular zoo]

The specific group is usually clear from the context; here, of course, the sentences are without that context so we have to imagine one (such as the country or zoo mentioned above).

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello every one,
I'm a newcomer. I'am so glad learned this webside from my english teacher!
Neirther house is really  what I want.  I thought this sentence should be neirther of the house is really what I want.  But the answer said that is right.  I don't understand, could someone help me with that?
Thanks in advance! Have a nice day!

Hi emma yang2013,
Welcome to LearnEnglish! We're glad that you like the site.
"Neither house is really what I want" is indeed correct, though you can also say "Neither of the houses is really what I want". The two sentences mean the same thing. The important thing to remember is that neither and either take a singular verb, even though they are used to talk about two things.
Please let us know if you have any other questions.
Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

The president shook hands with each players.
why this sentence is wrong, I thought "each" means "all" and in the context it is correct.
and another one;

Hi trung.pham,
The answer to your question is under Singular Quantifiers, which is just above the exercise. There it says:
"We use every or each with a singular noun to mean all"
Since the word "players" is plural, each can not be used with it. It would be correct to say:
"The president shook hands with each player"
because the word "player" is singular.
I hope this clarifies things for you. If not, please let us know.
Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I came across with some grammar books that talk about the application of that both quantifiers of "neither..nor" and "either ...or". But there are different from what was explained by BC team over here.
It go like this;
For either... or - the type of noun use after the "or" is depend on the noun word after the "or". For example;
1) Either John or his friend likes football.
2) Either John or his friends like football.
In example1, we referred to one friend hence is singular noun and we use singular verb.
In example 2, we referred to more than one friend hence is plural noun and we use plural verb.

The same method use for "neither...nor".

I am in confused after reading the explanation from BC team, can your please comment on this so I can have better understanding.

Millions of Thanks

Hello Mydearfriend73,
The explanation for your examples is on the page:
"*Nouns with either and neither have a singular verb."
The only exception to this is if the second noun is plural:
 
Neither John nor Paul is here. [singular verb]
Neither John nor his friends are here. [plural verb because the second noun is plural]
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

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