Quantifiers indicate the quantity of a given noun. They can be used with a noun (preceding it) as a determiner or without a noun as a pronoun.
When they are used with a noun, some of them will be used with countable nouns, some other with uncountable nouns and some others with both.
Many: It expresses a high quantity of something. It is used for countable nouns in plural Examples:
- She has many powerful friends (affirmative sentence)
- There are not many policemen in this area (negative sentence)
- How many books are you carrying now? (question)
Much: It is the equivalent to “many” for uncountable nouns. Examples:
- Nowadays there is much concern about the environment in local communities (affirmative sentence, not very common)
- There isn’t much milk left in the fridge (negative sentence)
- How much salt do you need to buy? (question)
A lot of/lots of: Like the previous quantifiers they express large quantities of something, both for countable and uncountable nouns. They are not used in questions. Examples:
- Michael keeps lots of old files in his office
- It seems there is a lot of food in the cupboard
Some/any: They express smaller quantities, and they are used with countable and uncountable nouns alike. Generally, “some” is used in affirmative sentences and replaced by “any” in negative sentences and questions. Examples:
- I have some questions to ask you (affirmative sentence)
- I do not have any questions to ask (negative sentence)
- Do you have any questions? (question)
No/none: They express zero quantity and can be used both with countable and uncountable nouns. “No” has to be followed by a noun whereas “none” is used as a pronoun. Examples:
- Question: Do you have any money?
Possible answers: I have none/I have no money
- There are no pencils in the drawer
Little/a little: They express a small quantity in uncountable nouns. Examples:
- We can’t help you, we only have a little money
- Hurry up, you have little time!
Few /a few: Like the previous quantifier, they express small quantities, in this case concerning countable nouns. Examples:
- Only a few participants came to the conference
- Few people think you are right
Now, it’s time to practice with the next exercise. Choose the correct option:
For more English tips, take a look to the posts below 😉