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What are quantifiers?

Quantifiers tell us something about the amount or quantity of something (a noun).

Some quantifiers express a small or large quantity:

  • Small: I have a few things to do before finishing work.
  • Large: I have many things to do before finishing work.

Some quantifiers express part of or all of a quantity:

  • Part: It rains most days in winter.
  • All: It rained all day yesterday.

Quantifiers belong to a larger class called Determiner.

Examples of quantifiers

Quantifiers can be a single word (e.g. some) or a phrase (e.g. a lot of). Quantifiers that appear as a phrase are often called Complex Quantifiers.

Simple Quantifiers: all, another, any, both, each, either, enough, every, few, fewer, little, less, many, more, much, neither, no, several, some.

Complex Quantifiers: a few, a little, a lot of, lots of

The position of quantifiers

We put quantifiers at the beginning of noun phrases.

quantifier + noun

  • some people

quantifier + adjective + noun

  • many old books

quantifier + adverb + adjective + noun

  • a lot of very crazy drivers

We can also use quantifiers without a noun, like a pronoun.

  • These books are old but some are still in good condition. (Some refers to some books)

Quantifier + Noun


Formal and Informal Quantifiers

Sometimes we can make a sentence more formal or more informal (or natural) just by changing the quantifier.

Many people where invited to the wedding. (formal)
A lot of people arrived late. (informal/natural)

They made little progress. (formal)
They didn't make much progress. (informal/natural)

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