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
|a lot of
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
- Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 2
These more colloquial forms are also used with both count and uncount nouns:
|a load of
We have loads of time.
Joe has plenty of friends.
There was heaps of food.
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.
Quantifiers with count nouns
Some quantifiers can be used only with count nouns:
These more colloquial forms are used only with count nouns:
|a couple 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:
|a bit of
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
- Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 4
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:
|More than two supermarkets
Both the supermarkets
All the supermarkets
|Neither of the supermarkets
None of the supermarkets
I don’t think the supermarket
I don’t think either of the supermarkets
I don’t think any of the supermarkets
Note that nouns with both have a plural verb but nouns with either and neither have a singular verb.
- both, either and neither 1
- both, either and neither 2
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)