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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.

some and any 1

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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.

Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 3

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Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 4

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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

Hi.
Could you please tell me why "Neither house is really what I want." is correct?
As I got from your lesson, we have to use plural nouns after "neither", but we don`t have it here.

Hello pachvak!
 
When we use neither on its own, it is always followed by a singular noun. When we use neither of, as we do in the examples above, we use plural nouns.
 
Hope that helps!
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

thanks!
you help me so much, I did the activity again and see the difference, I need put more attention to my reading.

hi, I don´t understand why the sentences:  The president shook hands with each players.And We don't have enough of information. Are incorrect according to the first activity. Please somebody tell me what I don´t understand. 

Hello dayanb!
 
If you look at the page, you'll see that it tells you we use every with the singular noun. The president shook hands with every players is wrong because it should be player (no s).
 
For your second question, if you look at the first table of quantifiers, you'll see that is only enough with no of. We do use the phrase 'enough of', but not in a sentence like the one in the exercise.
 
Hope that helps!
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
I don't understand why in the example:
"Both brothers work..."
there is no article before the noun, but "the" appears before the noun in:
"Both the supermarkets were closed"
Thanks
Quinito

Hello Quinito!
 
That's a good question, and I agree it looks confusing. However, we often drop 'the' after both, especially when we are speaking. Both sentences are grammatically correct, and the meaning of both is the same.

Hope that helps,
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team
 
 

Hello Respected Teacher!!
 
How to use 'fewer' and 'hundreds of' in sentences? May you put some examples for that please?
Secondly, whenever I ask question and post a comment I never get reply... please tell me how to check reply later on?
Regards!!!

Hello Skylark,
Good to hear from you. I just checked your previous comments and you've asked five questions on LearnEnglish (not including your question today). We've answered four of those five questions and the one we haven't answered yet is one you asked yesterday (Saturday). I think that's pretty good for a free website!
If you want to check for a reply later on, just bookmark the page where you asked it in your web browser or use the sharing buttons above the comments to email / Facebook / Twitter the page so that you can find it again. You could also tick the box that says 'Notify me when new comments are posted' when you write your comment.
As for your question today, if you want examples of sentences with 'fewer' or 'hundreds of', try searching the site for 'fewer' etc. using the search box on the right-hand side of the page.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Ok, it's clear, thanks
Regards
Quinito

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