Understanding Quantifiers & Their Use In English Grammar

In today’s lesson, we have got a new topic – Quantifiers in English Grammar. We all are familiar with them but often get confused when we have to use them. But before we understand the usage of each of these quantifiers, let us first understand what they actually are.

A quantifier is a word we normally use before a noun in order to express the quantity of the object. Words like many, few, some, much, etc. qualify as quantifiers in English grammar.

It is a general rule for most quantifiers to get followed by a noun e.g. ‘The cat drinks very little milk’.

However, in some cases, quantifiers can be used without being followed by a noun. It will usually happen in the sentences where it is clear what object is being referred to, e.g. ‘Do you want some tea? – Yes, just a little’.

Use of Quantifiers in English Grammar 

1. Quantifiers based on noun quantity

Depending on the number of nouns, the use of quantifiers also varies. For larger quantities, we use quantifiers like a lot, much and many. For smaller quantities, we have words like a little, a bit, and a few. In order to describe the undefined quantities, words like some and any can be used.

Quantifiers like enough and plenty are often used to describe a sufficient amount.

2. Quantifiers with ‘of’

Quantifiers can also include words like ‘of’ e.g. plenty of. In sentences where a quantifier is being followed by ‘of’, it is MUST for the quantifying word to be followed by an article or determiner.

3. Neutral Quantifiers

Then we have the neutral quantifiers which include words like each & every, and whole & all.

Exceptional Cases

It is important to note that certain quantifiers have a parallel meaning but they actually differ because one is usually used with the countable nouns while the other goes along with uncountable nouns.

Countable nouns are the nouns we can count like a fan, two tables, and five benches.  On the other hand, uncountable nouns count to objects we can’t count; they usually have a singular form like furniture, rice, etc.

Like any other element of grammar, quantifiers too have great significance in regards to written and spoken English. As there are several quantifiers, using them correctly can always be tricky.

For now, you can get familiar with the different quantifiers and the category they belong with the help of the following table:

NEUTRAL some, several, a number of, enough any, enough any, enough
LARGE QUANTITY numerous, plenty of, a lot of, lots of, too many much, many, too many much, many, too many
SMALL QUANTITY few/a few, little/a little    

In the next lesson, we will focus on different quantifiers and understand their usage in different sentences.

Stay tuned!!!