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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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some and any 2

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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

Humm, it's hardest! :Z

hello very one
Its good to be in this community of learning proper English...

Hı.
Can you show as the correct answer of the Quantifiers(1). Because I want to learn why I do that false answer. Thank you.

Hi,
To see the answers on an exercise, just click on the 'Finish' button.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

In question 9 the statement, We don't have enough of information, is said to be correct. Surely this can't be right?

Hello jamesregan!
 
You're right - that is incorrect. However, when I do the exercise, select incorrect, & click finish for question 9, 'incorrect' gets a tick - it is the right answer. Can you check again and tell me if you see a tick next to correct?

Regards,
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

"Neither Jack nor Mark like spicy food" and "Neither of the supermarkets was open".
What's the difference between them in verb?
 

Hello Qing Qing!
 
When you use neither of without nor, to show two similar things together, use the singular. When you name both things, use the plural verb forms. For example, Tesco & Safeways are both supermarkets, but if we use the names, we must use nor and the plural:
Neither Tesco nor Safeways were open.
 
Likewise, if you change the first sentence to 'boys', you get:
Neither of the boys likes spicy food.
 
However, this rule is often broken - when speaking, people will often say "Neither of the boys like spicy food".
 
Hope that helps!
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

sir
i read your reply to Pachvak! where you said
"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."
After reading this reply ... i am having a great deal of confusion in my mind. I need your help
Regards

Hello munish064,

This means we say

neither + singular noun

neither of + plural noun

For example:

Neither person was nice. [singular]

Neither of the people were nice. [plural]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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