Quantifiers

Learn about quantifiers like all, some, enough and less and do the exercises to practise using them.

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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Hi Rafaela1,

Yes :) These quantity expressions are all commonly used. Your sentences 1 and 3 are correctly written. Sentence 2 needs of: a load of pumpkins.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周一, 05/10/2020 - 20:40

Hello. Is the following sentence correct or there is something wrong? If it is wrong, how can I say it correctly? - There are times when people can't work so hard to live comfortably. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

No, the sentence is not correct. If I understand you correctly, then you want to say that sometimes it's not possible for people to live comfortably, no matter how hard they work. If so, you could say this:

There are times when people can't live comfortably, no matter how hard they work.

There are times when people can't live comfortably, however hard they work.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Peter. What about the following one? Is it correct? - There are times when people can't work hard enough to live comfortably. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is fine grammatically, but I'm not sure it means what you intend.

The suggestion in your sentence is that people could live comfortably if they were able to work harder. In other words, it suggests that the problem is with the people and their inability to work hard, not with the circumstances around them.

In my examples, the meaning was different. My sentences meant that people work hard, but it is not enough. In other words, they cannot achieve a comfortable life even if they work hard.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周五, 02/10/2020 - 08:12

Hello. Are the following two sentences correct? If so, What is the difference between them? - Ali neither wrote nor phoned. - Neither did Ali write nor did he phone. Thank you.

Hi Ahmed Imam,

Yes, both are correct, and the meaning is the same. But the second sentence, with its greater amount of structural repetition, sounds more formal in style.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Pyae phyo maung 提交于 周二, 25/08/2020 - 10:47

Hi sir , I was wondering about There was a lot of food and no drinks Why drink has s ? Thank you

Hi Pyae phyo maung,

Drink is a countable noun and has a plural form. When we use no to mean not any, we use the plural:

There weren't any drinks > There were no drinks.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Dawoud 提交于 周四, 25/06/2020 - 23:31

Why are my comments unpublished?!

Hello Ahmed Dawoud,

All comments on LearnEnglish are moderated before they are published. That means a member of the LearnEnglish Team reads your comment to ensure it complies with site rules and is not advertising/spam etc.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Dawoud 提交于 周四, 25/06/2020 - 21:02

Hi, Please could you tell me what is the correct choice and why ? I bought two books but I haven't read ( either / both ) of them yet. Thanks in advance

Peter M. 提交于 周五, 26/06/2020 - 06:44

Ahmed Dawoud 回复

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

vickypalero 提交于 周日, 14/06/2020 - 08:07

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

Gloria Pérez 提交于 周六, 23/05/2020 - 07:49

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

Gloria Pérez 提交于 周一, 11/05/2020 - 22:07

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

Zoe0615 提交于 周二, 05/05/2020 - 18:34

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.

Hello H_L,

Either... or is commonly used and is neutral in terms of style/register.

She is either a doctor or a nurse - I can't remember which.

When we have a negative verb, we often use only or:

I don't know her job, but she isn't a doctor or a nurse.

We can use neither... nor with a positive verb, but it is very formal:

I don't know her job, but she is neither a doctor nor a nurse.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周六, 02/05/2020 - 17:55

Hello. Is the following sentence correct and meaningful using "too.... to"? - That opportunity was too good to miss. Thank you.

Yogambigai 提交于 周六, 04/04/2020 - 11:39

Hai He is as sweet as me--is it grammatically correct?

Kirk 提交于 周六, 04/04/2020 - 15:44

Yogambigai 回复

Hello Yogambigai

Could you please post this on a relevant page? For example: 'as' and 'like'.

Thanks in advance.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Yogambigai 提交于 周六, 04/04/2020 - 06:40

Hello I have a doubt. Roses blossomed soon this spring -- is it grammatically correct?

Peter M. 提交于 周六, 04/04/2020 - 07:50

Yogambigai 回复

Hello Yogambigai,

You need to use a different word than soon:

The roses blossomed early this spring.

I think the definite article (the) is likely as you are probably talking about certain roses (in your garden, in your region etc) rather than all roses in general.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Yogambigai

'soon' means in a short time from now at the moment of speaking. 'early' is more relative -- it means before the other moment of time referenced.

Since you say 'blossomed', which indicates the past, it doesn't make sense to refer to a short time from then by using the word 'soon', because that time has already passed.

Does that make sense?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Karimhadi 提交于 周四, 02/04/2020 - 15:30

Hello, Teacher Could you please explain this grammar case to me? 1- look at these sentences : We have one less packet of salt. We have one packet less of salt. Can we replace "one" with the indefinite article "a" especially before the word "less" ? 2- can we use indefinite articles before the comparative words "less" and "more" ? Ex : We have a less chair in the room . ( I mean with this sentence that we have lack of one chair.) 3- is it grammatically correct to say : We have less a packet of salt . ( I mean with this that we missed one packet of salt, we have lack of one packet of salt.) And is the meaning of the sentence correct? If it's wrong, what should it be ?.

Hello Karimhadi,

1. In the first sentence you cannot replace one with a. You need to use a number:

one less packet

two less packets

In the second sentence I think it is possible to replace one with a, but the original version is much more common.

2. No, as with the first example, you cannot use an article here. You need to use a number.

3. The sentence is not correct. As with the first examples, you can say one packet lessone less packet or a packet less. The last is the least common formulation.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Piyush_kashyap 提交于 周六, 28/03/2020 - 03:52

How many people in this class have short hair? Why is "the" not used in this sentence before "people"? "In this class" is an adjective phrase describing people so "the" should be used before people...

Hello Piyush_kashyap,

After How much and How many we do not use articles unless we use of:

How many people in this class have short hair?

How many of the people in this class have short hair?

The same is true with questions starting with Which:

Which people in this class have short hair?

Which of the people in this class have short hair?

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

So which sentence is correct? how many people in this class have short hair? Or How many of the people in this class have short hair? What difference does " of the" make in second sentence?

Hello Piyush_kashyap,

Both sentence are correct and there is no difference in meaning. We use ...of... when we want to specify that we are choosing from a closed group rather than in general, but in your sentence the phrase in this class already makes that clear, so both sentences have the same meaning.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Andy 提交于 周四, 26/03/2020 - 01:05

This helps me a lot for reviewing the material that I already have!

Esme25 提交于 周三, 25/03/2020 - 20:12

when we use quantifiers it's when we have a countable and uncountable nouns. the most common that we can find are: some, any, less, a few. few, little and a little. In this site we can understand more about that.

Daya 提交于 周三, 25/03/2020 - 16:28

The quantifiers are used for describe Count and uncount nouns, where we see that the most used are some, any, less, a few, many, more, etc.

Risa warysha 提交于 周五, 28/02/2020 - 11:18

Hello,sir. Could you please explain which one is formal and informal from these sentences I have no money. I don't have any money. Thank you in advance

Hello Risa warysha

Neither of these is particularly formal. I suppose if I had to choose one as more formal, I'd say the first one, but there isn't really much difference between them by themselves.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Bharati 提交于 周三, 26/02/2020 - 13:05

Hello, In the example -"Two men are there. " Can "Two men" be considered adverbial since it answers "How many"(As adverbial answers how much or how many) Thanks Thanks

Hello Bharati

Although some might do so, I would not say that 'two men' is adverbial here.

While from time to time we're happy to help with questions such as this one and many of the others you have been asking recently, please note that this is not really what our comments section is for.

The main reason our website has a comments section is so that we can answer users who have specific questions about our webpages and so that other users can learn from our answers. Although we do use grammatical terms to explain grammar, our focus is on helping people use English more than it is on helping them classify it grammatically, which is what many of your questions are asking.

Please take this into consideration when posting comments on LearnEnglish.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周四, 24/10/2019 - 16:38

Hello. Could you help me, please? Is the following sentence correct? What's wrong? - We took many photographs but a half of them were very good. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Iman,

I would suggest this:

We took many photographs but only half of them were very good.

'Very' is a slightly odd word here, but it would depend upon the context in which the sentence is used.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team