English Grammar Guide

Quantifiers

Quantifiers are adjectives which we use when we answer the questions 'How much?' or 'How many?'

Quantifiers

Quantifiers are adjectives which are used to answer the questions:
            How many?
            How much?



Using Some and Any

We can use 'Some' and 'Any' with plural countable nouns and with uncountable nouns.
'Some' is used in affirmative sentences and for offers and requests.   'Any' is used in general questions and in negative sentences.

  • I bought some bread and some eggs today.

  • They tasted some delicious wines in Italy.

  • I don't have any tea, but I have some coffee.

  • There aren't any wild bears in Ireland.

  • Do you have any Seville oranges?

  • Would you like some more wine?

  • Did you buy any bread?

  • Are there any good films at the cinema this weekend?

Much, Many, A lot of, Lots of..

We can use 'Many', 'A lot of' and 'Lots of' to talk about plural countable nouns.
'A lot of' and 'Lots of' can be used in positive or negative statements and also in questions. 'Many' is normally only used in negative sentences and questions.

  • They weren't many people in the cinema.  

  • I don't read many books.  

  • Have you seen many good films this year?

  • He eats a lot of apples.  

  • He has lots of friends.

We can use Much, A lot of and Lots of with uncountable nouns.
A lot of and Lots of can be used in positive or negative statements and also in questions. Much is only used in negative sentences and questions.

  • They drink a lot of coffee in Italy.

  • He doesn't have much money.

  • How much money have you got?

  • I haven't got lots of money.

'A Little' and 'A Few'

We use A few to talk about plural countable nouns when the quantity is    "some, but not many."  
We use A little to talk about uncountable nouns when the quantity is    "some, but not much."

  • I have a few apples if you want one. 

  • We only have a little time, so we should hurry! 

A few or Few - A little or Little

Little and Few (without a) mean "not a lot."  They often have a negative meaning.
Use little with non-countable nouns like bread, rice, fruit, patience.
Use few with countable plural nouns like bananas, pieces, and meals.

  • We have little time before our flight leaves. We should hurry or we will miss it.

  • He has few friends because he is very shy. He never talks to anybody.

We can use very in front of few and little.

  • I have very little patience with lazy people.

  • Very few children like eating vegetables.

A little and A few mean "some" or "a small amount."  They have a more positive meaning than little and few.

  • We have a little time before our flight leaves. Let's have a coffee while we wait.

  • He has a few good friends.

However, if we use only in front of a few or a little, the meaning becomes more negative.

  • She ate almost all the chocolates her boyfriend gave her. There are only a few left.

  • Only a few meals at the university cafeteria were vegetarian. Most of the time, there were only meat or fish dishes.

Comparative Constructions with Much, Many, A lot, A little, and A bit.

'Much' or 'A lot' are used in a comparative statement or question to show a big difference between two people or things.
'A little' or 'A bit' are used to show a small difference.



With adjectives:

  • Australians are much less formal than English people, and they are much more direct.

  • French food is a lot richer than Italian food.

  • I think the Ford Fiesta is a bit better than the Fiat Punto.

  • English is a little easier to learn than French.

With adverbs:

  • She speaks a little more quietly than I do.

  • She speaks a bit more quietly than I do.

  • He drives a lot more slowly than you do.

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