# 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 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)

Average

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/05/2020 - 06:37

In reply to by H_L

Hello H_L,

Either... or is commonly used and is neutral in terms of style/register.

She is either a doctor or a nurse - I can't remember which.

When we have a negative verb, we often use only or:

I don't know her job, but she isn't a doctor or a nurse.

We can use neither... nor with a positive verb, but it is very formal:

I don't know her job, but she is neither a doctor nor a nurse.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 17:55

Hello. Is the following sentence correct and meaningful using "too.... to"? - That opportunity was too good to miss. Thank you.

Submitted by Yogambigai on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 11:39

Hai He is as sweet as me--is it grammatically correct?

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 15:44

In reply to by Yogambigai

Hello Yogambigai

Could you please post this on a relevant page? For example: 'as' and 'like'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yogambigai on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 06:40

Hello I have a doubt. Roses blossomed soon this spring -- is it grammatically correct?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 07:50

In reply to by Yogambigai

Hello Yogambigai,

You need to use a different word than soon:

The roses blossomed early this spring.

I think the definite article (the) is likely as you are probably talking about certain roses (in your garden, in your region etc) rather than all roses in general.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 15:50

In reply to by Yogambigai

Hello again Yogambigai

'soon' means in a short time from now at the moment of speaking. 'early' is more relative -- it means before the other moment of time referenced.

Since you say 'blossomed', which indicates the past, it doesn't make sense to refer to a short time from then by using the word 'soon', because that time has already passed.

Does that make sense?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Karimhadi on Thu, 02/04/2020 - 15:30

Hello, Teacher Could you please explain this grammar case to me? 1- look at these sentences : We have one less packet of salt. We have one packet less of salt. Can we replace "one" with the indefinite article "a" especially before the word "less" ? 2- can we use indefinite articles before the comparative words "less" and "more" ? Ex : We have a less chair in the room . ( I mean with this sentence that we have lack of one chair.) 3- is it grammatically correct to say : We have less a packet of salt . ( I mean with this that we missed one packet of salt, we have lack of one packet of salt.) And is the meaning of the sentence correct? If it's wrong, what should it be ?.

1. In the first sentence you cannot replace one with a. You need to use a number:

one less packet

two less packets

In the second sentence I think it is possible to replace one with a, but the original version is much more common.

2. No, as with the first example, you cannot use an article here. You need to use a number.

3. The sentence is not correct. As with the first examples, you can say one packet lessone less packet or a packet less. The last is the least common formulation.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Piyush_kashyap on Sat, 28/03/2020 - 03:52

How many people in this class have short hair? Why is "the" not used in this sentence before "people"? "In this class" is an adjective phrase describing people so "the" should be used before people...

Hello Piyush_kashyap,

After How much and How many we do not use articles unless we use of:

How many people in this class have short hair?

How many of the people in this class have short hair?

The same is true with questions starting with Which:

Which people in this class have short hair?

Which of the people in this class have short hair?

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

So which sentence is correct? how many people in this class have short hair? Or How many of the people in this class have short hair? What difference does " of the" make in second sentence?

Hello Piyush_kashyap,

Both sentence are correct and there is no difference in meaning. We use ...of... when we want to specify that we are choosing from a closed group rather than in general, but in your sentence the phrase in this class already makes that clear, so both sentences have the same meaning.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Andy on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 01:05

This helps me a lot for reviewing the material that I already have!

Submitted by Esme25 on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 20:12

when we use quantifiers it's when we have a countable and uncountable nouns. the most common that we can find are: some, any, less, a few. few, little and a little. In this site we can understand more about that.

Submitted by Daya on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 16:28

The quantifiers are used for describe Count and uncount nouns, where we see that the most used are some, any, less, a few, many, more, etc.

Submitted by Risa warysha on Fri, 28/02/2020 - 11:18

Hello,sir. Could you please explain which one is formal and informal from these sentences I have no money. I don't have any money. Thank you in advance

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 28/02/2020 - 16:07

In reply to by Risa warysha

Hello Risa warysha

Neither of these is particularly formal. I suppose if I had to choose one as more formal, I'd say the first one, but there isn't really much difference between them by themselves.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bharati on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 13:05

Hello, In the example -"Two men are there. " Can "Two men" be considered adverbial since it answers "How many"(As adverbial answers how much or how many) Thanks Thanks

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 27/02/2020 - 11:10

In reply to by Bharati

Hello Bharati

Although some might do so, I would not say that 'two men' is adverbial here.

While from time to time we're happy to help with questions such as this one and many of the others you have been asking recently, please note that this is not really what our comments section is for.

The main reason our website has a comments section is so that we can answer users who have specific questions about our webpages and so that other users can learn from our answers. Although we do use grammatical terms to explain grammar, our focus is on helping people use English more than it is on helping them classify it grammatically, which is what many of your questions are asking.

Please take this into consideration when posting comments on LearnEnglish.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 24/10/2019 - 16:38

Hello. Could you help me, please? Is the following sentence correct? What's wrong? - We took many photographs but a half of them were very good. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Iman,

I would suggest this:

We took many photographs but only half of them were very good.

'Very' is a slightly odd word here, but it would depend upon the context in which the sentence is used.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again. so I understand that using "a" is wrong, right? Thank you

Submitted by Rafaela1 on Sun, 13/10/2019 - 10:39

I hear that somtimes people ask "Do you have some information?" or "Do you have some information, don't you?" when the speaker is expecting some information to be there. Is this right? Can anyone tell me?

Hello Rafaela1

'Do you have some information?' is correct when we expect that the person we are speaking to has some information.

I'm afraid that 'Do you have some information, don't you?' is not correct, though. It should probably be 'You have some information, don't you?'. You might want to take a look at our Question tags page for an explanation of how this grammar works.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 12/10/2019 - 22:06

Hello. Can we use "both" in negative sentences? Which words can be suitable to complete the following sentence? Can we use "both", "either" or "any"? - I haven't seen..........of those films. Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The correct form here is 'either'. We generally use 'both' and 'too' in affirmative sentences. We use 'either' in negative sentences like yours. We can also use 'either' in affirmative sentences to mean 'one of the two' (e.g. I can go to either restaurant. It's up to you.)

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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'?

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 21/06/2019 - 07:33

In reply to by zakacat

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

hello would you please help me to clarify? is this sentence correct? most boys like football. thx

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 11/06/2019 - 07:37

In reply to by talin

Hello talin,

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

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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