You are here

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

MultipleChoice_MTU5NTU=

Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 2

GapFillTyping_MTU3NTQ=

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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTU3NTU=

some and any 2

GapFillTyping_MTU3NTg=

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

Matching_MTU3ODI=

Quantifiers with count and uncount nouns 4

GapFillTyping_MTU3ODU=

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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTU3ODY=

both, either and neither 2

GapFillTyping_MTU3ODc=

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

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

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

Neither of the options doesn’t work. ;)

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

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

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

Pages