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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Submitted by jeany on Wed, 04/12/2013 - 02:55

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I have few interest in politics.

I have spent hundreds of money on repairs.

hi , then sentences above is incorrect. I have got the answers , but i don't know why. would you  explain why. and give me the right way ,thanks.

Hi jeany,

Both politics and money are uncount nouns, and so the determiners that modify them must also be used with uncount nouns. As is explained above, the determiners hundreds of and few, however, are both only used with count nouns, and therefore do not work with the words politics and money. Instead, you could say hundreds of yuan and little interest. These are both grammatically correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ahmed1988 on Sat, 16/11/2013 - 07:47

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When we were children we had holidays at our grandmother’s every year. can i ask about ('s) is possessive or verb be?

Hello ahmed1988,

The 's here is a possessive; it is short for 'our grandmother's place/home'.

I hope that answers your question.  I'd also like to ask you to try to post questions about language elements on pages about those elements (so this question would be best on this page, for example).  This is because the question might be useful for other users but they will be less likely to find it if it on a random page, and also because pages become much less useful if they are full of random comments rather than comments on the topic.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ibafah on Tue, 29/10/2013 - 08:42

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Dear instructors, Could you please explain about "few time" and "little time"? Thank you
Hi ibafah, "few time" is not standard English, because "few" is only used with count nouns. The word "time" is an uncount noun, and so "little time" is the standard form. This can seem a bit strange, as we do talk about time with numbers, but in terms of grammar, "time" is an uncount noun. If you want to review count and uncount nouns, you can do so on the following pages: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/nouns/count-nouns http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/nouns/uncount-nouns Please let us know if you have any more questions. Best wishes, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Theresa Andrew on Tue, 29/10/2013 - 02:59

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Hi, I'm sorry about the previous post. I didn't check on the other participants post. I'm clear about the use of 'enough of' now. regards

Submitted by Theresa Andrew on Tue, 29/10/2013 - 02:54

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Hi, These exercises have beneficial effects on me. I see there is an use of 'enough' in one of the sentences. I would like to know on the use of 'enough' in the sentence below. sentence: We don't have enough of information. (wrong) Can you explain to me why this sentence is wrong. regards

Submitted by Valeria0706 on Wed, 23/10/2013 - 13:33

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why this sentence is not correct in the exercise? We don't have enough of information. and this have spent hundreds of money on repairs.
Hi Valeria0706, "enough of" is only used before pronouns or determiners. Sentence 9 in the first exercise is incorrect because the word after "enough of" ("information") is a noun, not a pronoun or determiner. In sentence 10, "hundreds of" is incorrect because the word it modifies ("money") is an uncount noun. If you look in the explanation, you'll see that "hundreds of" is in the class of quantifiers that can only be used with count nouns. Best wishes, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gamaya on Sat, 19/10/2013 - 14:35

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Can you please explain the use of "the" which is mentioned in the "Members of Groups" section?
Hello Gamaya, As the explanation says, we use 'of the' when we are talking about a specific group of people or things. To understand this, it is useful to contrast similar examples: 'Few snakes are dangerous.' [a statement about snakes in general] 'Few of the snakes are dangerous.' [a statement about a specific group of snakes, e.g. the snakes in a certain country, or the snakes in a particular zoo] The specific group is usually clear from the context; here, of course, the sentences are without that context so we have to imagine one (such as the country or zoo mentioned above). I hope that clarifies it for you. Best wishes, Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by emma yang2013 on Sun, 15/09/2013 - 14:16

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Hello every one,

I'm a newcomer. I'am so glad learned this webside from my english teacher!

Neirther house is really  what I want.  I thought this sentence should be neirther of the house is really what I want.  But the answer said that is right.  I don't understand, could someone help me with that?

Thanks in advance! Have a nice day!

Hi emma yang2013,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! We're glad that you like the site.

"Neither house is really what I want" is indeed correct, though you can also say "Neither of the houses is really what I want". The two sentences mean the same thing. The important thing to remember is that neither and either take a singular verb, even though they are used to talk about two things.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by trung.pham on Tue, 10/09/2013 - 09:27

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The president shook hands with each players.

why this sentence is wrong, I thought "each" means "all" and in the context it is correct.

and another one;

Hi trung.pham,

The answer to your question is under Singular Quantifiers, which is just above the exercise. There it says:

"We use every or each with a singular noun to mean all"

Since the word "players" is plural, each can not be used with it. It would be correct to say:

"The president shook hands with each player"

because the word "player" is singular.

I hope this clarifies things for you. If not, please let us know.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mydearfriend73 on Sun, 23/06/2013 - 01:15

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I came across with some grammar books that talk about the application of that both quantifiers of "neither..nor" and "either ...or". But there are different from what was explained by BC team over here. It go like this; For either... or - the type of noun use after the "or" is depend on the noun word after the "or". For example; 1) Either John or his friend likes football. 2) Either John or his friends like football. In example1, we referred to one friend hence is singular noun and we use singular verb. In example 2, we referred to more than one friend hence is plural noun and we use plural verb. The same method use for "neither...nor". I am in confused after reading the explanation from BC team, can your please comment on this so I can have better understanding. Millions of Thanks

Hello Mydearfriend73,

The explanation for your examples is on the page:

"*Nouns with either and neither have a singular verb."

The only exception to this is if the second noun is plural:

 

Neither John nor Paul is here. [singular verb]

Neither John nor his friends are here. [plural verb because the second noun is plural]

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mydearfriend73 on Sat, 22/06/2013 - 15:32

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Hello BC Team, Can I say "none of" & " No one" or "Nobody" are use in plural nouns and follow by plural verb in a sentence? Hope to hear from you. Millions Thanks

Hello,

We have lots of readers on LearnEnglish, so can you please ask one question at a time?

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mydearfriend73 on Sat, 22/06/2013 - 15:16

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Hello, 1) Can I say "each" & "every" are only use in singular nouns and must follow by a singular verb? "All" is use in plural nouns and must follow by plural verb? 2) "Either" & "neither" are use in plural nouns and must follow by singular verb in a sentence? Hope BC Team can enlighten me. Million thanks

Submitted by angie_rose on Sat, 15/06/2013 - 11:27

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Hello,

I don't have major problems in learning english online. But I do have some questions in between. I do understand they way they teach but words like count and uncount nouns. I simply don't get it.

Please tell me what is count and uncount nouns?

Also, what's colloquil forms?

I'm confused what to use and when to use. Please reply soon to my comment.

Thanks

Hello angie_rose,

Welcome to LearnEnglish.  There is a good grammar section on the site where you can find answers to your grammar questions.  For example, you can find information on count and non-count nouns here and here.

We divide nouns into count and non-count (also called count and uncount nouns).  Count nouns are ones which we can... count!  For example, we can count apples - one apple, two apples, a thousand apples etc.  These nouns can be singular or plural.

Non-count nouns are nouns that we cannot count because there is just more or less of something, not a number.  For example, we can't count water.  We have some water... some more water... yet more water...  These nouns are always singular.

Colloquial language means language which is for everyday use rather than language which is formal or academic.  You can use the dictionary window on the right of the page to check words like this and you'll get a definition and examples to help you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter ,

Please get us reasons for right or wrong in the activities . Not able to conclude.

Thanks in advance.

Hello shiyazahammed,

I'm afraid we're a small team here at LearnEnglish and we simply don't have the time to explain every answer in every exercise!  We can help with any particular queries you have about particular examples, but if you want an explanation for every answer then I think you'll need to find a teacher to help you.

Remember that all the examples in the exercises are designed to practise rules given in the grammar explanations.  If you want to know why a certain answer is correct or not then find the corresponding rule in the explanation.  It's always there!

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by missarshmah on Fri, 26/04/2013 - 10:56

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Respected sir,

There is a  big confusion to use each and every with children please help me to clear in these sentences.

Every child in the world deserves affection

We want each  children to succeed.

 

Hello missarshmah!

 

Can I ask what your confusion is? Both each and every mean all. Both of your example sentences are good uses of each or every, but remember that we use the singular with each and every, so the second sentence should read:

We want each child to succeed.

 

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pachvak on Tue, 02/04/2013 - 10:03

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Hi.

Could you please tell me why "Neither house is really what I want." is correct?

As I got from your lesson, we have to use plural nouns after "neither", but we don`t have it here.

Hello pachvak!

 

When we use neither on its own, it is always followed by a singular noun. When we use neither of, as we do in the examples above, we use plural nouns.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by dayanb on Mon, 25/03/2013 - 19:43

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thanks!

you help me so much, I did the activity again and see the difference, I need put more attention to my reading.

Submitted by dayanb on Wed, 20/03/2013 - 19:36

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hi, I don´t understand why the sentences:  The president shook hands with each players.And We don't have enough of information. Are incorrect according to the first activity. Please somebody tell me what I don´t understand. 

Hello dayanb!

 

If you look at the page, you'll see that it tells you we use every with the singular noun. The president shook hands with every players is wrong because it should be player (no s).

 

For your second question, if you look at the first table of quantifiers, you'll see that is only enough with no of. We do use the phrase 'enough of', but not in a sentence like the one in the exercise.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Quinito on Mon, 11/03/2013 - 16:49

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Hello

I don't understand why in the example:

"Both brothers work..."

there is no article before the noun, but "the" appears before the noun in:

"Both the supermarkets were closed"

Thanks

Quinito

Hello Quinito!

 

That's a good question, and I agree it looks confusing. However, we often drop 'the' after both, especially when we are speaking. Both sentences are grammatically correct, and the meaning of both is the same.


Hope that helps,

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

 

 

Hello Respected Teacher!!

 

How to use 'fewer' and 'hundreds of' in sentences? May you put some examples for that please?

Secondly, whenever I ask question and post a comment I never get reply... please tell me how to check reply later on?

Regards!!!

Hello Skylark,

Good to hear from you. I just checked your previous comments and you've asked five questions on LearnEnglish (not including your question today). We've answered four of those five questions and the one we haven't answered yet is one you asked yesterday (Saturday). I think that's pretty good for a free website!

If you want to check for a reply later on, just bookmark the page where you asked it in your web browser or use the sharing buttons above the comments to email / Facebook / Twitter the page so that you can find it again. You could also tick the box that says 'Notify me when new comments are posted' when you write your comment.

As for your question today, if you want examples of sentences with 'fewer' or 'hundreds of', try searching the site for 'fewer' etc. using the search box on the right-hand side of the page.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by j_amarildo on Thu, 14/02/2013 - 03:12

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Humm, it's hardest! :Z

Submitted by calvin jackson on Sun, 03/02/2013 - 08:01

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hello very one

Its good to be in this community of learning proper English...

Submitted by memetkarakaya on Sat, 02/02/2013 - 17:53

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Hı.

Can you show as the correct answer of the Quantifiers(1). Because I want to learn why I do that false answer. Thank you.

Hi,

To see the answers on an exercise, just click on the 'Finish' button.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jamesregan on Thu, 17/01/2013 - 14:38

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In question 9 the statement, We don't have enough of information, is said to be correct. Surely this can't be right?

Hello jamesregan!

 

You're right - that is incorrect. However, when I do the exercise, select incorrect, & click finish for question 9, 'incorrect' gets a tick - it is the right answer. Can you check again and tell me if you see a tick next to correct?

Regards,

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by QingQing on Wed, 16/01/2013 - 02:56

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"Neither Jack nor Mark like spicy food" and "Neither of the supermarkets was open".

What's the difference between them in verb?

 

Hello Qing Qing!

 

When you use neither of without nor, to show two similar things together, use the singular. When you name both things, use the plural verb forms. For example, Tesco & Safeways are both supermarkets, but if we use the names, we must use nor and the plural:

Neither Tesco nor Safeways were open.

 

Likewise, if you change the first sentence to 'boys', you get:

Neither of the boys likes spicy food.

 

However, this rule is often broken - when speaking, people will often say "Neither of the boys like spicy food".

 

Hope that helps!

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

sir i read your reply to Pachvak! where you said "When we use neither on its own, it is always followed by a singular noun. When we use neither of, as we do in the examples above, we use plural nouns." After reading this reply ... i am having a great deal of confusion in my mind. I need your help Regards

Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 25/01/2016 - 08:33

In reply to by munish064

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Hello munish064,

This means we say

neither + singular noun

neither of + plural noun

For example:

Neither person was nice. [singular]

Neither of the people were nice. [plural]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

respected sir, thank you once again for the reply. Munish

Submitted by Pablo Cobos on Wed, 09/01/2013 - 02:55

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Hi. I really do not know why the sentence "I have few interest in politics" is incorrect. Can you help me? Please.