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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.

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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

Hi Ahmed Dawoud,

The correct choice here is either with the meaning not one and not the other.

 

It's unusual to use 'both' in a negative sentence. We can do it when we want to express the meaning of only one and not the other, and we need to include a phrase to make this clear:

I bought two books but I haven't read both, only one of them so far.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

It's really educative.

Hello!
I was wondering if money is an abstract or concrete noun. And if it is both, is it always uncountable?
Thank you.
Victoria

Hello Victoria

Yes, 'money' is always an uncount noun. There might be some instances where it's more abstract, but in general it's a concrete noun.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot for you help Kirk ;-)!!

Hi Kirk!

This time my doubt is about the use of "any" in negative and interrogative sentences with countable singular nouns. So far I have said:
NEGATIVE:
— "I don't have a car" meaning "No tengo (un) coche"
— "There isn't an apple in the tree" meaning "No hay una manzana en el árbol"
— "Do you have a car?" meaning "¿Tienes (un) coche?"
— "Is there an apple in the tree?" meaning "¿Hay una manzana en el árbol?"
INTERROGATIVE:
— I don't have any carS meaning "No tengo ningún coche" and "No tengo coches"
— "There aren't any appleS in the tree" meaning "No hay ninguna manzana en el árbol" and "No hay manzanas en el árbol"
— "Do you have any carS?" meaning "¿Tienes algún coche?" and "¿Tienes coches?"
— "Are there any appleS in the tree?" meaning " ¿Hay alguna manzana en el árbol?" and "¿Hay manzanas en el árbol?"
(If any translation is wrong please let me know Kirk...)

=> The case is that recently I've come across in some texts the following:
— "I don't have any car" and
— "Is there any apple"
Is this a mistake???
If not, which are the right translations for these sentences?

Thank you very much in advance for your help to clear these doubts!

Hi Gloria

We don't do translations, but I can say your translations all look correct to me. The two sentences you came across sound unnatural to me. Perhaps in some very specific context they could be correct and natural, but in general I'd just say 'I don't have a car' and 'Are there any apples?'

Hope this helps.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
All of my money , All my money
Both of my chair, Both my chair
Which one is correct?

Hello Zoe0615,

Both All of my money and All my money are correct. The meaning is the same.

With both (of), you need to use a plural noun (chairs not chair). If the noun is plural then you can say either Both of my... or Both my... Again, the meaning is the same.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
The use of "Either, Or" and "Neither, Nor" was not mentioned here, can I find it on another page? Or could you explain when do we use them?
Is it more common to use them in speaking or writing?
Do they make the sentence more formal or informal?
Thank you.

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