What are quantifiers?
They tell us something about the amount or quantity of something (a noun).
Some 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 express part of or all of a quantity:
- Part: It rains most days in winter.
- All: It rained all day yesterday.
They belong to a larger class called Determiner.
They can be a single word (e.g. some) or a phrase (e.g. a lot of). Those 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
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 them without a noun, like a pronoun.
- These books are old but some are still in good condition. (Some refers to some books)
Formal and Informal
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)
You find below the sub-lessons under the main quantifiers lesson.