Determiners and quantifiers

Determiners and quantifiers are words we use in front of nouns. We use determiners to identify things (this book, my sister) and we use quantifiers to say how much or how many (a few people, a lot of problems).

Read clear grammar explanations and example sentences to help you understand how determiners and quantifiers are used. Then, put your grammar knowledge into practice by doing the exercises.  

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Soumis par Innasib le lun 09/01/2017 - 15:57

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Hello, dear British Council friends! Can you explain, which is correst" "This is us" or "These are us", and why? "This" is supposed to be used only with singulars, but I often see sentences like "This is us", "This is them", "This is the girls I told you about"

Hello Innasib,

We can use 'this' when we have in mind the group as a whole. Thus, it is possible to say 'This is us' when you really mean 'This group is us'. However, it is somewhat non-standard and used only in certain contexts - particularly with pronouns rather than full nouns.

I think 'These are the girls' would be the correct form for your last example rather than 'This is...'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Thank you for your kind help, Peter! I've only got one more question - is the form "These are us" correct and used in English?

Hello Innasib,

I can't think of a context in which that sentence would be used. Really, something like 'This is us' is used only in certain contexts - such as when you show someone a photo of your family.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par orajeev le lun 26/12/2016 - 16:06

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Hello Peter M, Can we use affordable as follows: healthcare that is affordable to all people. Or the only possibility is affordable healthcare? thank you.

Hello orajeev,

Yes, both of those uses are fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par amol le mar 13/12/2016 - 12:00

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Hello He doesn't have any knowledge / He has no knowledge. Do the above sentences show the same meaning and are grammatically correct?

Soumis par Peter M. le mer 14/12/2016 - 07:52

En réponse à par amol

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Hello amol,

Yes, these sentences are both correct and are interchaneable as far as I can see. I would say that the second sentence is rhetorically stronger, but the meaning is the same.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par amol le mar 13/12/2016 - 11:57

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Dear Sir, can we say that 'enough' is an adjective? For e.g we had enough time/money/knowledge?

Hello amol,

Yes, in these examples 'enough' is an adjective. It can have other roles as well, but here it is an adjective.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par zagrus le dim 11/12/2016 - 14:45

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Hi, Should I say " he has no another booklet" or " he has no other booklet"? Thanks in advance

Soumis par Kirk le lun 12/12/2016 - 06:43

En réponse à par zagrus

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Hello Abdullah,

You could say 'He doesn't have another booklet', 'He doesn't have any other booklet' or 'He has no other booklet'. In the first, it means he doesn't have another copy of the same booklet, i.e. there are multiple copies of the same booklet. The other two imply that there are at least two different booklets (and perhaps multiple copies of each).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Daniel H le jeu 24/11/2016 - 07:34

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Hi sir. I have some doubts about the use of a singular or plural verb in the follow sentences; which one of these are correct? There is a small quantity of pencils on the table or There are a small quantity of pencils on the table A large number of people are in the room or A large number of people is in the room? And the last one: There are plenty of people in the church or There is plenty of people in the church Thank you so much.

Soumis par Kirk le jeu 24/11/2016 - 12:30

En réponse à par Daniel H

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Hello Daniel,

In each of these cases, the important thing is to find the subject of the verb. In the first, the subject is 'a small quantity'. Since 'quantity' is a singular count noun, the singular form 'there is' is the appropriate one. In the second, the subject is 'a large number'. As 'number' is a singular count noun, 'is' is the correct form. In both of these sentences, since the idea is basically plural (pencils, people), some people might use a plural verb, but I'd recommend you use a singular one.

And in the last sentence, the subject is 'plenty of people'. Unlike in Spanish, 'people' is grammatically plural in English, so 'there are' is the correct form. Saying 'there is' in this context is wrong.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Soumis par yinshid le mer 30/11/2016 - 15:29

En réponse à par Daniel H

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we first need to identify the subject in every sentence. We identify "a small quantity" as the subject of the first sentence and "quantity" as its main subject because both "a" and "small" modify it. Since "quantity" is singular, it receives a singular be verb which is "is." The same goes to number and plenty. They're both singular so they both receive the be verb "is." Don't get fooled by "of pencils" and "of people" because even if "pencils" and "people" are identified as plural nouns, they belong in the prepositional phrase. PP is basically "preposition + optional modifier/s+ noun." Take note that PP do not contain the subject so if it says "the book of pens and pineapples is awesome to read" the subject will still be "book" and the be verb is "is." I hope that helps.

Soumis par zagrus le ven 18/11/2016 - 07:43

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Hi, Could you please tell me which of the following sentences correct: "Angels never eat, drink, sleep, nor get tired." or " Angels never eat, drink, sleep, or get tired." Thanks in advance, Abdullah

Soumis par Peter M. le sam 19/11/2016 - 07:09

En réponse à par zagrus

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Hi zagrus,

The word I would use here is 'or'. The reason is that 'nor' contains a negative meaning and that has already been expressed by the word 'never'; if you use 'nor' after 'never' then you have a double negative, which we avoid in English.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par fahri le jeu 10/11/2016 - 10:33

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Hello dear team, The explanations above are pretty complicated. We can’t understand From the other site they said: Determiners include: the articles : a / an / the demonstratives : this / that / these / those possessives (aka possessive adjectives): my / your /his / her / its / our / your / their And more general determiners are quantifiers: "I teach online for 3 days a week."

Hello fahri,

I'm not sure which site you mean, but in any case we don't generally comment on what other sites say. The word 'include' means that the list after it is not complete, i.e. it is a partial list.

If you have a specific question, please feel free to ask it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Zette le dim 09/10/2016 - 10:36

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Hello just want to know the uses of different tenses.the easy way to understand tenses.i am quite confused thank you

Hello Zette,

My first suggestion would be to read the Verbs part of this English Grammar section. Here in Determiners and quantifiers you won't find anything directly related to them. I'd suggest reading just a few pages at a time, as there is a lot to learn there.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par alvin_loh le jeu 06/10/2016 - 02:38

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Hi Sir, May I know is the answers provided for the test level questions? Thanks.

Soumis par Peter M. le jeu 06/10/2016 - 06:11

En réponse à par alvin_loh

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Hi alvin_loh,

To see the answers to any of the exercises on the site just click 'Finish' after you have answered at least one question, and then choose 'Show answers'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Christelle_G le mar 04/10/2016 - 12:42

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Hello! I have a question for you. In a textbook junior high students are using in Japan, there is a funny skit about how to use fans for a long time: "Open the fan halfway, you can use it ten years. After ten years, open the other half and use it gently. You can use it for another ten years." And then, in the exercise book, they have to make similar sentences. In the teacher's book, one of the correct answers is: "You can use it for another one year" And it seems wrong to me. Over one year, ok. Another two years, another three years... But for one year I would simply say "for another year" omitting the "one" as it doesn't sound right. Am I wrong? How to use that properly? Thank you! Chris

Soumis par Kirk le mar 04/10/2016 - 12:56

En réponse à par Christelle_G

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Hello Chris,

Yes, you are right - that is not a standard sentence and the ones you propose are correct. I suspect it's simply an unintended error.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Mashiroyuki le ven 28/10/2016 - 14:16

En réponse à par Christelle_G

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Hi chris, im sorry to ask you something thats not related to this but this question is really important for me. I'm from malaysia and im currently 18 years old. I just recently came to japan for further studies and i am interested to become an english teacher in japan, but i was told that non-japanese resident has almost 0% of becoming an english teacher in japan . I saw your comment about japan junior high school english textbook so i was wondering about are you teaching english in japan? Do you mind if you tell me your email address or are there any other way to contact you? Thank you! Cheah

Soumis par seaara le jeu 29/09/2016 - 16:36

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Hello , My question is a bit out of this topic. But i hope i can get answer. When i look for some words in Cambridge dictionary i face some things i can not understand . For example word is cholesterol, and its definition is " a substance containing a lot of fat that is found in the body tissue and blood of all animals, thought to be part of the cause of heart disease if there is too much of it:" I understand it. There is there [U] what does it mean ? (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cholesterol) We can also see [T], [I] ( http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cholesterol )and so forth . Where can i get wide information about them about them ?

Soumis par Kirk le jeu 29/09/2016 - 19:31

En réponse à par seaara

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Hello seaara,

There's an explanation of these codes on the Labels & Codes page. I think that should clarify everything for you, but if not, please ask us again.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Elka0507 le dim 25/09/2016 - 16:59

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Thanks so much, Peter! I also noticed “What colour is this/that?” is hardly ever used, instead “What colour is it?” is idiomatic. Do I get this right? The first chapters of all English textbooks are about introduction. Despite that after many years I’m still quite confused about making a proper introduction in English. As far as I can see from books and videos the question “What’s your name?” is not very common. More often people just greet each other and introduce themselves like ‘Hello! (Hi) I’m…” Besides while reading one of the fora I came across the post which surprised me a lot. A girl, native English speaker, wrote she could not imagine asking a stranger “What’s your name?” In her opinion it’d be rude and a sign of bad manners. Is it true? Is “What is your name?” mostly heard at the reception and should be answered “It’s…”?

Hello Elka0507,

You can certainly ask 'What colour is this?' when the object is in front of you, but it would be a rather unusual question for most people because if the object is in front of you then you can generally see the colour for yourself! 'What colour is it?' is a question we would use when we cannot see the object being discussed.

Asking for someone's name in this way is quite direct. Usually we would wait for them to tell us, as you say, and if we ask then we would do it in an apologetic manner, saying for example 'I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name' or 'I'm sorry, but I don't know your name'. We would only really ask directly in this way when the situation makes is normal, such as someone whose job it is to collect names for registration or similar. The correct answer would be 'It's John Smith' or 'I'm John Smith'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

You helped me a lot! When I wrote "What colour is this?" I meant the situation where an EFL teacher's asking a student in the classroom :-) Helen

Soumis par Agog le ven 23/09/2016 - 14:11

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Hello! I am confused over some uses of words - each and every. At some place I read "every international fora" and at other place it was "every single international forum" both of these are from a leading daily. Is there any difference in the two that every is followed by singular noun in one case and plural in the other. Is it right to say "we had to stop every few miles" And "I purchased 10books and every one of them was torn." Also she'd some light over the uses of the two as in - which one to use where. I find the differences in the uses of each other and one another at a number of places but not each and every. Please guide. Thank you

Soumis par Peter M. le sam 24/09/2016 - 07:47

En réponse à par Agog

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Hello Agog,

You can find information on 'each' and 'every' on our quantifiers page. There is no difference in meaning and I cannot think of a sentence in which you could not replace one with the other.

Not all examples of language in newspapers are correct, I'm afraid. We do not use 'every' with plural nouns unless there is another quantifier present, so we can say 'every few times' or 'every thirty meetings'. In these cases the 'thirty meetings' is treated as a unit and is effectively a singular concept.

The sentences with 'every few miles' and 'every one' are fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much Peter. It was a great help. Little more on that please. Are both of these formations correct- "every international fora" and "every single international forum".

Hello Agog,

'Fora' is a plural form and should not be used with 'every'. The correct form would be 'all international fora'. The second phrase is fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par dawnpcT le jeu 22/09/2016 - 05:45

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Hi, I have always heard sentences like "People helped him learn English" and " I heard the zookeeper say...". Why are the first verbs in the past tense while the second verbs in the sentences in the present?

Soumis par Peter M. le jeu 22/09/2016 - 06:40

En réponse à par dawnpcT

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Hello TPC,

The structure here is [help someone (to) do something] - the 'to' can be included or not without any change in the meaning.

The first verb is in the past tense because the action of helping or hearing was in the past. The second verb is not a present tense but rather an infinitive, which is a verb form not marked for time and can refer to past, present or future.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Elka0507 le dim 18/09/2016 - 10:49

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Hello The LearnEnglish Team, I have been wondering what difference between the questions 'What is it?' and 'What's this?' is (when you ask about something you see for the first time) I would be grateful if you would help me.

Hello Elka0507,

There is no real difference in meaning but we use 'What's this?' when we can see the thing that we are talking about. "What is it?' can be used in any situation (on the phone, asking about something we can't see such as on another person's screen etc).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Audrey66 le mer 07/09/2016 - 05:48

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Hi. May I know which of the below sentences is grammatically correct? Do you write "Comprised of" or "comprising of" in the sentence below. Singapore Airlines brings to Singapore a 3 day world-class event comprised of a forum, a workshop and a gala concert by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra. Singapore Airlines brings to Singaporea a 3 day world-class event comprising of a forum, a workshop & a gala concernt by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra. Also, I read somewhere (other english forums) that one does not use"of" with comprise. You do not say / write "comprised of". Simply "comprised" will do. Is this correct ? And when do you use "comprise" and when do you use "compose" ? Clear explanations on the answers will be much appreciated. Thank you so much.

Hello Audrey66,

The forms have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. Therefore you can say both

Singapore Airlines brings to Singapore a 3 day world-class event comprised of a forum, a workshop and a gala concert by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra.

and

Singapore Airlines brings to Singaporea a 3 day world-class event comprising a forum, a workshop & a gala concernt by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra.

 

As you can see, however, we do not use 'of' after the active form of the verb 'comprise'. Here are some other examples to illustrate:

The team is comprised of three men and two women.

The team comprises three men and two women.

The country is comprised of twelve regions.

The country comprises twelve regions.

Twelve regions comprise the country.

You can see that when we use a passive form ('is comprised of'), we use it to show the smaller parts of a whole. When we use an active form ('comprises'), it can show the smaller parts of a whole, or the whole which is made up of the smaller parts. It is a very flexible word!

 

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter, Thank you so much for the detail explanation. It has been many years since I left school ... and with the various types of English being spoken & written today, it can be quite confusing what is the correct form. One more question, based on the same sentence : Singapore Airlines brings to Singapore a 3 day world-class event comprised of a forum, a workshop and a gala concert by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra. Can we also write it as : Singapore Airlines brings to Singapore a 3 day world-class event comprised of a forum, workshop and gala concert by musicians from the Singapore Symphonic Orchestra. That is, the article "a" is omitted from "workshop" & "" gala dinner". I asked this question as it is common to come across sentences written without articles such as "a" , "an " in everyday communications. Thank you. Best regards, Audrey66.

Hello Audrey66,

This is a question of style – in other words, you could find different answers to this question – but in general, I'd say the first version (with 'a' before each item in the list) is preferable in most neutral or formal writing.

Hope this helps!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Bassant2000 le lun 29/08/2016 - 19:51

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Can "during" be followed by a gerund or only by a noun / noun phrase ? Can I say " During watching the film , the light went out " ? or just say " During the film .........."

Hello Bassant,

The generally accepted rule is that 'during' cannot be followed by a gerund. You can find constructions such as 'during studying' in some contexts but I would say that these are generally not considered good style or correct standard English.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team