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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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'?

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

hello

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

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