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)

Average
Average: 4.4 (42 votes)

Submitted by Sokhomkim on Wed, 18/10/2023 - 13:45

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Hello, Sir.
I wanted to know why "each" is the correct option in the sentence below:
- There are many guests in the hotel. ..... one has their own room.
A. Each
B. Every
C. Any
Is it grammatically correct if I use "Every" in the sentence above.
One more question:
e.g., Each guest has their own room.
Does it have to be "one guest has one room? Can it be "two guests use one room if they are a couple"?
Thank you so much for your time.
Best Wishes!

Hi Sokhomkim,

Yes, it is grammatically correct. However, it sounds more emphatic than usual, as if the speaker/writer is really emphasising the point.

About your second question, yes - the meaning is "one guest, one room". If two people share a room, the description "has their own room" is not right.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Fri, 04/08/2023 - 22:48

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Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please help me with the following:

Which one is correct:

1. Most of bloggers on the Internet offer an email subscription.

2. Most of the bloggers on the Internet offer an email subscription.

I have doubts whether "most of/most of the" bloggers refer to a general idea (cause it's about many bloggers) or specific (cause it's about bloggers on the Internet).

Thank you so much for your constant and precious help and I'm very grateful for your answer to this comment beforehand!

Hi howtosay_,

Sentence 2 is correct. It is a specific idea, referring to specific bloggers (i.e. "bloggers on the Internet"). Sentence 1 isn't correct but you can say Most bloggers on the Internet ... . The structures are:

  • Most + noun (without "of" and without an article)
  • Most of + noun (with definite article) or pronoun

Other quantity words (e.g. all, some, many, a few) follow the same structures.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 05/07/2023 - 11:12

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Hello. Could you please help me choose the correct answer? I think both are OK, right?
-There’s (much - a little) petrol in the car, so we will be able to drive to our friend’s house.
Thank you.

Hi Ahmed Imam,

Grammatically, both answers are fine. However, considering usage, "a little" is the best answer.

"Much" tends to be used in a negative or question form (e.g. "not much" or "how much"), or the emphatic "so much". It is uncommon to use "much" to show a positive quantity, even though it's grammatically fine. More common ways to say this would be "There's a lot of petrol ..." or "There's plenty of petrol ...".

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Wed, 28/06/2023 - 02:59

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Hello, dear teachers and team!

Can you please help me with the following:

As far as I know "much" is used in negative sentences and questions only. "Lots of" should be used instead in positive sentence. (If I am not wrong, of course).

Could you please tell me, if it is the same with "many"?

The point is I 've read different information on "many" - some authors claim it IS used in positive sentences like (There were many people in the street. She has many deals to do), while others say that "lots of" has to be used, but not many.

I'm very very grateful for you dispelling my doubts, which means a lot to me! And thank you for answering this very comment beforehand!

Hello howtosay_,

In affirmative sentences 'much' is unusual as a quantifier before nouns, as you say. It can sound archaic or overly formal. However, it is not incorrect, grammatically speaking, and can be found in formal, rhetorical language such as speeches, or in deliberately archaic language such as in fantasy novels and films.

'Many' is much* more common in affirmative sentences and does not have the same archaic tone. It is a little more formal than 'a lot of', but is common in normal speech.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

 

* note that 'much' here modifies the comparative adjective, and with this use it is common in affirmative sentences

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 08/06/2023 - 04:52

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Hello. Could you please help me choose the correct answer? Why?
- All the money I have is (enough - sufficient) to buy the books I need.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both 'enough' and 'sufficient' are possible here. 'Sufficient' sounds a little more formal; 'enough' would be more common in conversation.

I don't think 'all' is required here. 'The money I have...' is better, unless you want to suggest that to buy the books you would need to use everything you own - in which case something like 'To buy the books I need I have to spend all the money I have' would be better.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Fady94 on Wed, 12/04/2023 - 13:56

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Good evening Sir
In this example:
Sally had a glass of milk this morning.

If I want to ask about " a glass of "

Which one is considered correct ?
1) How many glasses of milk did Sally have this morning?

Or
2) How much milk did Sally have this morning?

Hi Fady94,

They are both correct! The difference is that question 1 specifies the unit (glasses of milk). Question 2 simply asks about how much, so the answer could use any unit (e.g. one glass, one cup, 300 ml ...).

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Both are correct
1) is asking about the number of cups. A possible answer would be: 2 cups.
2) is asking about the amount of milk. A possible answer would be: one litre.

Submitted by leo15722 on Fri, 03/02/2023 - 12:24

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Hello. Could anyone help me? In the question bellow:

Which of the alternatives below completes the sentence correctly?

There are no figures for ______ (1) of the applicants successfully get off waiting lists. It varies since it depends on the strength of the application pool and whether the fully accepted students decide to attend or go elsewhere.

A) how many
B) many

Why is letter B incorrect?

Hi leo15722,

The idea is that something is unknown (the number of applicants who successfully get off waiting lists). You can think of it as implying a question: How many applicants successfully get off waiting lists? "Many" by itself indicates a large quantity, but "how many" indicates that the quantity is unknown - it could be a large or small number.

Does that make sense? I hope it helps to understand it.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Leo. Look up "Embedded questions". Another way to look at this is that you must include the question word (here it is "how") if there is a verb in the question. Here the verb in the subordinate part of the sentence is "get". It would be grammatically correct to write "There are no figures for many of the applicants successfully getting off waiting lists" using the participle "getting", but then the sense of the sentence would be different: you would only be considering those applicants who got off the waiting lists, not all applicants.

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Submitted by Prakash on Fri, 04/11/2022 - 07:49

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If two or more than two singular nouns are joined by -
Or, either....or, neither....nor
The singular pronouns and adjcective are used for them.

Eg.
Jack or Tom has lost his book.
Lucy or Mary forgot to take her pen.

Jack or Lucy has lost ------ book.
his/her

Hello Prakash,

To be honest, I'm not sure what the most proper usage is here. If I were writing or speaking, I'd avoid using a structure like this because it's awkward.

If I had to use the structure for some reason, I'd use 'their' in the gap. 'they', 'them' and 'their' are very commonly used to refer to a single person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant and this solution works here.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Prakash,

I'm glad that helped. I'm afraid there's no easy way to find all of the questions you've asked, though I'd recommend trying an advanced Google search, where you search a specific URL for pages with the word "Prakash" -- that might work.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marwan.Abdulwahab on Sat, 20/08/2022 - 08:45

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Isn't "less" for uncountable nouns?!

Hi Marwan.Abdulwahab,

Good question! Traditionally, yes - "less" is for uncountable nouns, while for countable nouns it should be "fewer" (e.g. We have less time than you. / We have fewer friends than you.) 

However, in everyday informal speaking and writing, people use "less" with countable nouns too. For example, there is a sign commonly seen in supermarkets which says "10 items or less". 

For more examples, you may like to see this Cambridge Dictionary page (see the section "Less and fewer with a noun"): https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/less-or-fewer

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Mon, 25/07/2022 - 11:26

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Hello. Could you please help me? Which one is correct or both are OK?
- Don't depend on false friends. None help / helps in need.
Simple-language explanation, please. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

As a pronoun, none takes a plural verb. Therefore 'help' is the only possible option here. However, I think 'will help' or 'would help' is a more natural verb choice.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Peter M. Is the following sentence correct using both forms? Why?
I looked for milk in the fridge. None was/were there.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In this case you have an uncountable noun, so 'was' is correct. In your earlier example you had a countable noun (friends), so you needed a plural verb.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Mon, 28/03/2022 - 15:53

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Hello. Could you please tell me if the following sentence is correct or there is something wrong with it?
I enjoy each of the moments I spend with you.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is correct. You could also say 'each moment' without changing the meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is correct. You could also say 'each moment' without changing the meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Basheer Ahmed on Mon, 31/01/2022 - 22:29

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Hello British Council Team,
I have a little confused regarding the usage of Either...or/ Neither...nor, particularly for Interrogative formation mentioned below:

> Are either/neither my friend or/nor my family members going to celebrate my birthday this year?
OR
> Is either/neither my friend or/nor my family members going to celebrate my birthday this year?

Which one is correct between these two?

Thank you.

Hello Basheer Ahmed,

To be honest, this question with 'either' doesn't make much sense to me.

'neither' is used with singular nouns, but 'neither/nor' refers to more than one person or thing, so it's possible to use either a singular or plural verb after it.

I'm not sure if I've answered your question. If this is for a communicative situation, please let us know more about it and perhaps we can help you phrase it more clearly. In most situations, it's much more common to say something like 'Your friend and your family aren't going to celebrate your birthday this year?' or 'Are your friends or family going to celebrate your birthday this year?'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Let us take the example from your expression here:
"Are your friends or your family going to celebrate your birthday this year?"
What I wanted to ask is: When we convert it into assertive form it will be like "Your friends or your family is going to celebrate your birthday this year."
We use Helping Verb in Assertive Form according to the subject which is nearer to the Main Verb, but while converting it into question form why do we use "Are" instead of "Is" here?
The same case is with the first question I have asked.
Kindly, clarify it please.
Thank you.

Hello Basheer Ahmed,

Thanks for explaining that again. I think I understand your question better now.

Part of the problem here is that the sentence you ask about seems strange to me: Why is it that only my friends or my family (but not both) are going to celebrate my birthday? And who is making this assertion, and why?

In any case, it's true that we generally use a singular verb with 'either', but in this case please notice two things: 1) 'either' is not in the sentence and 2) 'friends' is plural and 'your family', although grammatically singular, has the idea of more than one person. This is why I'd say 'are'. But it still sounds very strange to me for the reasons I mentioned above.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to change it to a different example that does make sense to me: 'Either your mother goes or I will' (imagine a father saying this to a boy who asks if one of the parents will go to the doctor with him). In this case, the subjects of the verbs and the verbs are singular.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Mr. Kirk. It was really helpful, but there is one more thing, I need, to be clarified:

> The Ministers or the President of our country is going to deliver a speech on the Independence Day.

Which one of the following is correct form of the statement mentioned above?
1. Is the Ministers or the President of our country going to deliver a speech on the Independence Day?
2. Are the Ministers or the President of our country going to deliver a speech on the Independence Day?

Hello Basheer Ahmed,

I'd say the same thing about this sentence. 

The affirmative sentence is odd because 'The Ministers' is clearly plural. Even though it could be the singular 'the President' who delivers the speech, combining singular and plural subjects like this is generally something we try to avoid. And is it really true that more than one minister is going to deliver a speech? Like before, this sounds like an odd situation to me.

But if I had to choose one of these forms, I'd choose the plural one (2). Perhaps this is because the verb 'are' is closer to the plural 'the Ministers', but I'm really not sure that's a good reason.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Mon, 28/06/2021 - 11:18

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Hello. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence correct? Why? Explain more please. I asked all my colleagues about my lost dictionary, but neither of them saw it. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

This sentence isn't correct. 'all' normally refers to more than two people (or things), and it can only refer to three or more when you find 'neither' (which only refers to two people or things) in the same sentence. 

If you're speaking about three or more colleagues, you should say 'none' instead of 'neither'. If you're speaking about two, you should say 'both' instead of 'all'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 21/04/2021 - 21:08

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Hello. Could you please help me? Which sentence is correct? Why? 1- There were four books on the table. Each book was a different colour. 2- There were four books on the table. Every book was a different colour. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In this context both are possible. 

 

We use each when we are thinking of all of the individuals, and every when we want to talk about the group as a whole; every is similar to ‘all’ or ‘everybody’.

 

The main different between them in terms of meaning is that we can use each to talk about two or more things but we can only use every when there are more than two.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter
I just want to know the writer of this post because i want to cite some information from this post in my research paper.

Hello Ahmed Saboro,

Do you mean the author of this explanation of Quantifiers? If so, his name was David Willis.

Hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 02/04/2021 - 13:44

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Neither of the options doesn’t work. ;)

Submitted by yaya aly on Wed, 31/03/2021 - 18:10

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we had a great weekend as the weather was perfect (all) or (both) days

Hello yaya aly,

'both days' is best here. 'all' usually refers to at least three items.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by yaya aly on Wed, 31/03/2021 - 18:07

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which one is correct ? either of them seems interested in the offer. or neither of them seems interested in the offer.

Hello yaya aly,

The second one (with 'neither') is the correct option here.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Thu, 04/03/2021 - 12:43

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Loads of time, heaps of food, and a great deal of money will ruin man. ;)

Submitted by mynameiscg on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:37

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Dear sir, Could you tell me whether this following sentence is grammatically or not? - I don’t play soccer and neither does John. Have a good day .
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Submitted by Jonathan R on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 15:53

In reply to by mynameiscg

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Hi mynameiscg,

Yes, it's correct :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Tue, 02/03/2021 - 19:48

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Hello Team. Which sentence is correct? 1- I looked at two sweaters, but I didn't buy either of them. 2- I looked at two sweaters, but I didn't buy both of them. Thank you.