Why Should I Care about Quantifiers?
- Use fewer with plural nouns and less with singular nouns.
- Less and fewer are quantifiers. While there are some quirks with less and fewer, the general ruling is that fewer is used with plural nouns while less is used with singular nouns.
- A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.
- I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.
- The less men think, the more they talk.
- You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
- All my friends left me when I was 12.
- All of my songs are autobiographical.
- Success is falling 9 times and getting up ten.
- 51 = fifty-one
- 234 = two hundred thirty-four
- 3,567 = three thousand five hundred sixty-seven
More about Quantifiers
- Most children start school at the age of five.
- We ate some bread and butter.
- We saw a lot of birds.
- We have a lot of time.
- I can’t go out. I’ve got no money.
- There was a lot of food but no drinks.
- We have loads of time.
- Joe has plenty of friends.
- There was heaps of food.
- Do you have any children?
- Did you see any friends?
- We don’t have any children.
- I didn’t see any friends.
- We saw some lions at the zoo, but we didn’t see any tigers.
- Would you like some tea?
- I want some apples, please.
- I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.
- There were hundreds of people at the meeting.
- Would you like a little wine?
- Could I have a bit of butter, please?
- It will probably cost a great deal of money.
- He spent a good deal of time watching television.
- Most children like chocolate.
- I never have enough money.
- Few of the snakes in this zoo are dangerous.
- Most of the boys at my school play football.
- He’s spent all (of) the money that we gave him.
- Both (of) the chairs in my office are broken.
- I don’t think the supermarket was open.
- I don’t think either of the supermarkets was open.
- I don’t think any of the supermarkets were open.
- There was a party in every street. (= There were parties in all the streets.)
- Every shop was decorated with flowers. (= All the shops were decorated with flowers.)
- Each child was given a prize. (= All the children were given a prize.)
- There was a prize in each competition. (= There were prizes in all the competitions.)
- When we were children, we had holidays at our grandmother’s every year.
- When we stayed at my grandmother’s house, we went to the beach every day.
- We visit our daughter every Christmas.
- Every shop was decorated with flowers. (NOT The every shop)
- Each child was given a prize. (NOT The each child)
All determiners can be classified as one of the following:
- An Article (a/an, the)
- A Demonstrative (this, that, these, those)
- A Possessive (my, your, his, her, its, our, their)
- A Quantifier (common examples include many, much, more, most, some)
Little and Few | With and without “a”
Little, a little, few and a few are adjective. These words have variation in meaning when they are used with and without “a”.
Little and A little
Little describes a negative quantity, nearly none or hardly any. It also describes a small size.
- “Mr Parker speaks very little English; it was hard to understand him.”
- “The patient had little money and could not afford a better hospital with night care.”
NB: “Little” has another meaning, too, meaning, “small in size.”
- “She has a little wart on the left cheek.”
A little describes a positive quantity. It means some, a small amount, but not much. It is used with uncountable nouns.
- Hi, Ms Petra, do you speak English? Hi, nurse, yes I speak, a little.
- I have but a little knowledge about this surgery, yet the doctor will be the right person to discuss it with.
- We’ve got a little time before the doctor arrives; You can ask me more questions.
Few and A few
Few describes a negative quantity or shortage. It means hardly any or almost none.
- Unfortunately Simon has few friends.
- Few people live to be one hundred.
A few describes a positive quantity. It means some, or a small number and is used with countable nouns.
- A few friends visited me in hospital.
- I might be a few minutes late.
- I’ll be away on business for a few days.
- She knows quite a few vegetarians.
Let’s Proceed to the final Test.