How to use quantifiers

English Level:

Intermediate and above

Contents of this post:

What are quantifiers?

some, much, many, a lot, lots of, few, little

Common mistake:

Using a quantifier with an incorrect type of noun.

English language learners sometimes misuse quantifiers.
To sound like a native speaker of English, you must use them correctly.
To help you remember it, think of it like this:

Specific quantifiers go hand in hand with specific nouns.

When do we use them?

We use them to show:

quantity

The

of a noun.

amount

The

of a noun.

degree

The

of a noun.

Visual explanation:

much

little

a little

only a little

uncountable
nouns

uncountable
nouns

uncountable
nouns

plural
nouns

many

few

plural
nouns

a few

only a few

plural
nouns

a lot of

plenty of

lots of

Examples of uncountable and plural nouns with their quantifiers:

More examples

There is not much sugar in the cake.

Much of the water had evaporated.

Her health had not improved much.

She withdrew some money from the bank.

There is lots of traffic on the road.

There were a lot of sheep in the field.

Many fans attended the football match.

He put some petrol in his car before going on the trip.

What do we mean by ‘plenty of’?

Look at these situations.

1 hour

7 hours

11 hours

not enough sleep

enough sleep

more than enough sleep

1 hour

7 hours

11 hours

Top tip

not enough time

enough time

Here’s a different way of saying this.

more than enough time

11 hours

plenty of time

not enough food

enough food

more than enough food

Top tip

Here’s a different way of saying this.

plenty of food

In other words:

No, thank you.
I’ve had plenty!

Would you like some more food?

Read post 2 for more common mistakes, corrections and examples.

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