Determiners - Lesson #2

Quantifiers are words that tell a number or quantity but are not actual numbers. We use them when we want to tell how many or how much in a less exact way.

There are many quantifiers, but in this lesson, we will try to cover all of the most important ones and give some examples of how to use them.

Here is a list of some of the most important quantifiers that you should know. We cover most of these words in more detail in other lessons.

plenty oftons oflots ofa couple of
a number ofa majority ofa third ofhalf (of)
noa great deal ofbunches ofhundreds of
a bit of a little bit ofloads ofboth

Let's go over some important points together.

1. Some quantifiers can only be used with singular count nouns.

  • I have one dog.
  • Each person has a job to do.
  • Every country has its own laws.
Note: "One" is not actually considered a quantifier because it is an actual number, but it does the same thing. Don't worry about the grammar terms. Focus on the words and how they are used and what they mean.

2. Some quantifiers can only be used with plural count nouns.

a few (of)manya couple ofseveral
a number ofa majority ofboth
  • A few of my friends came to my house.
  • I didn't see many people when I drove past the park.
  • She had a couple of questions.
  • There are a number of problems with the new product.
  • A majority of the citizens do not like the new law.
  • Both Mary and Bob like you.
  • We will travel for several weeks.
3. Many grammar books and people do not consider numbers to be quantifiers, but they do the exact same job. So, it is a good idea to study them together. Again, the grammar terms are not important.

Only the number "one" goes with singular count nouns. All other numbers including "zero" go with plural count nouns.
  • She has one cookie.
  • He has two cookies.
  • I have 1,000 cookies.
  • Bill has zero cookies.
4. Some quantifiers can only be used with non-count nouns.

a littleless(not) much
not as mucha great deal ofa bit of
  • I have a little free time today.
  • Regular exercise leads to less stress.
  • There is not much food in the house.
  • I do not have as much money as she does.
  • There is a great deal of interest in this issue.
  • A bit of love can give a great deal of help to a person.
5. Some quantifiers can be used with both count nouns and non-count nouns.

Here are some example sentences with count nouns.
  • There were no people at the event.
  • I have some cookies.
  • She doesn't have any friends.
  • They will fire a third of the employees.
  • Plenty of businesses are hiring.
  • Most kids love ice cream.
  • I need more clothes.
Here are some example sentences with non-count nouns.
  • They have no love for each other.
  • I have some time.
  • She doesn't have any stress.
  • They will spend a third of the money.
  • You can get plenty of stress from not working.
  • Most air pollution comes from factories.
  • We generated more interest in our product.
6. There are usually a few quantifiers that have the same or a similar meaning.
  • a lot of / lots of / tons of / heaps of / loads of
  • a few / several / a couple of
  • some / a number of / quite a few
If you want to improve your English grammar, then practice making sentences with the quantifiers that you studied in this lesson. You can practice writing or saying them aloud. If you practice saying your sentences aloud, then it will help you improve your English speaking.