Learn about quantifiers like all, some, enough and less and do the exercises to practise using them.

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.

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.

both, either and neither 1

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both, either and neither 2

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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)

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Hello Ahmed Imam

Yes, that is grammatically correct, though it would be strange if you were only talking about two films. If it's two films, 'either' is the best form; if it's three or more films, 'any' is the best form.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 12/10/2019 - 21:48

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Hello. Could you please explain which one is correct and why? - They do really good at that restaurant and it's not very expensive too. - They do really good at that restaurant and it's not very expensive either. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Neither sentence is correct. You need a noun after 'good': good food, good meals etc.

The correct form here would be 'either', not too.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by YSATO201602 on Thu, 11/07/2019 - 07:37

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I'd like to ask you about the usage of "neither...nor..." expression. Do the following sentences sound natural to native speakers or not? 1) I have ever neither met the man nor spoken to him. (or: I have neither ever met the man nor spoken to him.) 2) I neither have met the man nor have spoken to him. 3) Neither have I met the man, nor have spoken to him. Best Regards

Hello YSATO201602

1 is unnatural because the word 'ever' is redundant with 'neither'. If you changed it to 'I have neither met the man nor spoken to him' it would work.

2 is OK, though I think it would be more natural to put the 'neither' after 'have' and it should be 'nor have I spoken' or 'nor spoken' instead of 'nor have spoken'.

3 is OK except for 'nor have spoken', which should be either 'nor spoken' or 'nor have I spoken'.

Best wishes

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zakacat on Wed, 03/07/2019 - 01:59

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Ah, okay. Yes, that makes sense to me now, thank you.

Submitted by Carolina19 on Tue, 02/07/2019 - 00:57

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For me it is difficult to understand the difference of the two words or to identify in which sentence to use it. A clearer exercise is possible

Hello Carolina19

Do you mean 'both' and 'either' (or 'neither')? Or 'every' and 'each'? We're happy to try to help you if you have a more specific question.

I hope we can help you.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zakacat on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 15:40

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Hello, What is your opinion on Collective Nouns as Quantifiers? As I understand a collective noun on its own remains a noun. "The class walked towards the gymnasium." But, when we use the collective noun in a phrase before the noun, does it become a quantifier- "The class of students walked towards the gymnasium." such as the adjective phrase 'A lot of'?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 21/06/2019 - 07:33

In reply to by zakacat

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Hello zakacat,

'Class' here is not a quantifier but rather a collective noun, which is a noun used to describe a collection of things as a whole. Other examples would be a flock of birds, a pack of dogs, a pride of lions and a crowd of people, for example.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

In my first example with only "The class", I believe it to be a collective noun, but in my second example "The class of students" "The class of" is acting as an adjective phrase for the plural noun "students" similar to 'A lot of'. Article + Collective noun + of = adjective phrase. This also, to an extent, displays some amount of quantity, possibly making it a quantifier as well? But, if you are saying the whole phrase, 'A class of students' is the collective noun, I have read otherwise on other sites where they say that only 'class' is the collective noun. Anyways, I wouldn't be making such a big deal, but the book I am teaching with introduces both of these topics at the same time, and they even mislabeled some collective nouns as quantifiers, and that got me thinking.

Hello again zakacat,

The function of a quantifier is to answer the question How many? or How much? The answer may be an objective quantity (all, none), a subjective quantity (a lot, a ittle) or a relative quantity (more, less).

In my opinion the phrase 'a class of students' does not perform this function. The word 'class' here is a collective noun: it describes a group of items (here, people) who share a common characteristic and it enables them to be described as a collective whole.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by talin on Mon, 10/06/2019 - 09:36

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hello would you please help me to clarify? is this sentence correct? most boys like football. thx
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 11/06/2019 - 07:37

In reply to by talin

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Hello talin,

Yes, that sentence is grammatically fine, though it should begin with a capital letter.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by AminulIslam. on Fri, 26/04/2019 - 07:07

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Dear sir, would you please explain subject verb agreement regarding the word 'all'. Example... 1.all of it depends on you. 2.all of them are interested. 3.all of us are learning English. is it possible to say that all of them/ all of us/ all of it means they, we and it.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 26/04/2019 - 08:11

In reply to by AminulIslam.

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Hello AminulIslam. In a sense, you can say that 'all of them' is equivalent to 'they', 'all of us' to 'we' and 'all of it' to 'it', but this would omit part of the meaning, which is that when we say 'all of' we are telling the listener that there are no exceptions. ~ In terms of subject-verb agreement, the verb agrees with the noun following 'all of'. Thus, in your examples, the verb after 'all of it' is singular, that after 'all of us' is plural and that after 'all of them' is plural. ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team
sir your explanation is very good... would you please explain the use of before and after ? 1.he will come after she goes. 2.He will come after she has gone.. After and before can be used with future perfect? please mention some examples related to tense . Thanks a lot.
Hello AminulIslam. Following 'after' and 'before' we use present forms rather than 'will' (or 'will have') to talk about the future: >He will come after she goes (not '...after she will go') ~ The choice of present ('goes') or present perfect ('has gone'') is one of emphasis rather than meaning as the time word ('after' or 'before') already fixes the time relationship of the actions. The present perfect merely adds emphasis. ~ References to past time are unchanged: > He came after she went ~ You can read more about the use of different verb forms in time clauses on this page: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/verbs-time-clauses-and-if-clauses ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sam61 on Tue, 19/03/2019 - 08:26

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Hi, In an either/or sentence in which an independent clause follows both either and or, for example, either I'm going to the hotel(,) or I'm going home, does a comma precede the "or"?
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Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 20/03/2019 - 08:11

In reply to by sam61

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Hello sam61 As I understand it, you should use the comma before 'or' in this case. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Saffron on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 15:59

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Hi, I'm rather confused as to whether 'none' is singular or plural... None of the girls walk/walks to school.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 18/10/2018 - 05:50

In reply to by Saffron

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Hello Saffron,

This depends on the context.

If none means 'not one' or 'not a single one', or when it is used with an uncount noun, it has a singular verb.

If none means 'not any (of the group)', it has a plural verb.

 

Thus, in your sentence both forms are possible. If you mean 'not a single girl' then use walks. If you mean 'not any of the girls' then use walk. I would say that the plural verb sounds more natural to me and would be my choice, but grammatically both are possible.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much for your clarification, Mr Peter M.

Submitted by omarmohamed99 on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 21:25

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Dear sir, Could you tell me the difference between either and neither? I need to know the uses of each one
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Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 09/06/2018 - 04:37

In reply to by omarmohamed99

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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

Submitted by Andrew international on Wed, 31/01/2018 - 05:48

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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

Submitted by Andrew international on Sat, 20/01/2018 - 12:40

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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.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 21/01/2018 - 07:37

In reply to by Andrew international

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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

Submitted by Andrew international on Sat, 20/01/2018 - 12:26

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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.
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Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 20/01/2018 - 13:34

In reply to by Andrew international

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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