Grammar Time: Quantifiers

A quantifier is a word or phrase which is used before a noun to indicate the amount or quantity.’Some‘, ‘many‘, ‘a lot of‘, ‘a little‘ and ‘a few‘ are examples of quantifiers.

Quantifiers can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

Examples of Quantifiers With Uncountable Nouns

  • much
    There is much butter in the fridge. How much flour do you need to bake this cake?
  • a little/little/very little
    A little learning is a dangerous thing. We have very little money in the bank. The soup has little taste.
  • a bit (of)
    A bit of music will help you relax. With a bit of luck, we’ll finish on time. Would you like a bit of chocolate?
  • a great deal of
    A car costs a great deal of money. The British drink a great deal of milk. We’ve put a great deal of time into this project.
  • a large/huge amount of
    The system wastes a large amount of water. You have a large amount of information. Thieves stole a large amount of cash and jewellery worth £50,000. We use a huge amount of paper in the office every day..

Examples of Quantifiers With Countable Nouns

  • many
    So many countries, so many customs. There are many peaches in the bowl.
  • a few/few/very few
    It happened a few minutes ago. He put a few books into his school bag. Few women worked one hundred years ago.
  • a number (of)
    I can give you a number of postcards. A number of cars are on the freeway during rush hour. A great number of students volunteer each year for environmental projects.
  • several
    Several children are away from school because of illness. Several of my friends are learning English.
  • a large number of
    A large number of people were present at the concert. Vivaldi composed a large number of very fine compositions.
  • a great number of
    A great number of species are in danger of extinction. A great number of people supported the candidate.
  • a majority of
    I was responsible for a majority of the books sales. The bill was strongly criticized by a majority of the Congress and by both business and the trade unions.

With Both

  • all
    All things are difficult before they are easy. All fruit can be stored in a fruit bowl or basket. All money should be paid to the artist.
  • enough
    Is there enough dessert? Are there enough desserts for everyone? There is enough milk to make cocoa.
  • more/most
    Worry kills more men than work. Would you like some more food? Add some more cream to the sauce. Which of you earns the most money?
  • less/least
    People should eat much less fat. We must try to spend less money.
  • no/none
    A gloved cat catches no mice. There is no fire without smoke. There is no time to lose. None of my children has blonde hair.
  • not any
    I shall tell her firmly that it is not any business of hers. What is the good of retraining programmes if there are not any jobs to go to?
  • some/any
    I have some work to do this evening.
  • a lot of
    The farmer grows a lot of wheat. I have a lot of free time today. My country has a lot of mountains.
  • lots of
    Lots of students wear jeans nowadays. Drinking lots of water is good for the complexion.
  • plenty of
    Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit. The story shows plenty of imagination. He had plenty of time to catch his plane.
  • a large quantity of
    A large quantity of beer was sold on St. Patrick’s Day. Their boiler takes a large quantity of energy. Every summer, we grow a large quantity of vegetables in our garden.


little, very little mean that there is not enough of something
a little means that there is not a lot of something, but there is enough

few, very few mean that there is not enough of something
a few means that there is not a lot of something, but there is enough

Task 1. A few or a little?

  1. __________ sugar
  2. __________ time
  3. __________ houses
  4. __________ cheese
  5. __________ cars
  6. __________ money
  7. __________ children
  8. __________ girls
  9. __________ coffee
  10. __________ hobbies
  11. __________ electricity
  12. __________ suitcases
  13. __________ rice
  14. __________ water
  15. __________ bottles of water
  16. __________ coal
  17. __________ scarves
  18. __________ gold
  19. __________ dollars
  20. __________ sand

Task 2. Some or Any?

  1. I will show you _______________ places.
  2. They don’t have _______________ children.
  3. We need _______________ money.
  4. My mum bought_______________ fruit.
  5. He never eats _______________ meat.
  6. Is there _______________ milk in the fridge?
  7. Do you want _______________ more salad?
  8. Do you play _______________ sport?
  9. Are there _______________ roses here?
  10. Can I have _______________ wine, please?
  11. There’s _______________ milk in the fridge.
  12. This bottle hasn’t got _______________ water.
  13. My mother has got _______________ bracelets
  14. My aunt didn’t put _______________ keys in her bag.
  15. There are _______________ hospitals in this town.
  16. I went shopping but I didn’t buy _______________ sweets
  17. Are there _______________ theatres in this city ?
  18. Have you got _______________ brothers or sisters ?
  19. I can’t see _______________ stars in the sky.
  20. Did you see _______________ aliens there ?

Task 3. Some or Any?

  1. Are you going shopping? – No, I don’t need _______________ food today.
  2. There is hardly _______________ money left in our bank account.
  3. Do you have _______________ time for me after lunch today?
  4. _______________ student who comes late to the dance will not be allowed to enter.
  5. I’m afraid I have _______________ bad news for you.
  6. I didn’t see _______________ deer in the forest yesterday.
  7. Do you have _______________ brothers or sisters?
  8. Would you like _______________ cheese?
  9. You need to buy _______________ new shoes.
  10. This job is going to take _______________ time.
  11. If you’re hungry there’s _______________ pizza in the fridge.
  12. Do you have _______________  good DVDs I could borrow?
  13. I forgot to buy _______________ cheese.
  14. Did you see _______________ good films while you were in London?
  15. You won’t have _______________ friends if you’re always in such a bad mood.
  16. I’m visiting London next week. I’ve got _______________ friends there.
  17. My parents are happy. I got _______________ very good grades in my report.
  18. Sorry, you can’t have a milkshake. There isn’t _______________ more milk.
  19. Are the computers free? – Yes, you can use _______________ one you like.
  20. _______________ people never say please or thank you.
  21. Have you _______________ idea who took your dictionary?
  22. Can I have _______________ lemonade, please?

Task 4. Quantifiers a little, a few. Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.

  1. He speaks __________ Spanish, so we were able to find a nice room in Madrid.
  2. There are only __________ bananas left in the box.
  3. We need __________ butter for this cake.
  4. The teacher gives us __________ time to prepare before a test.
  5. There are only __________ days left to hand in the reports.
  6. I bought __________ apples in this shop.
  7. Could I have __________ milk in my coffee, please?
  8. Look! There are __________ mice on the roof.
  9. We saw __________ people at the bus stop.
  10. We have __________ ketchup and sausages left.

Task 5. Complete the questions with how much and how many, and is there and are there.

  1. _______________ crisps _______________? – How many crisps are there?
  2. _______________ cheese _______________?
  3. _______________ grapes _______________?
  4. _______________ sandwiches _______________?
  5. _______________ lettuce _______________?
  6. _______________ olives _______________?
  7. _______________ chicken _______________?
  8. _______________ strawberries _______________?
  9. _______________ orange juice _______________?
  10. _______________ meat _______________?
  11. _______________ pears _______________?
  12. _______________ lemonade _______________?
  13. _______________ lemons _______________?
  14. _______________ spinach _______________?
  15. _______________ peaches _______________?

Task 6. Few or Little? Complete the sentences with the correct word.

  1. This president had __________ power.
  2. She spoke __________ English. It was nearly impossible to understand her.
  3. They got __________ complaints.
  4. I’m sorry, but I have __________time to waste.
  5. He is lucky. He has __________ problems.
  6. They have __________ interest in politics.
  7. There’s very __________ communication between them.
  8. __________ children understood the difference.
  9. We had __________ hope that his sister would survive.
  10. Very __________ students studied Latin last year.

Task 7. Complete the sentences using the quantifiers: little/a little/few/a few

  1. We have _____________ time left. Let’s try to get finished quickly.
  2. You have _____________ ideas left, so let’s hear them.
  3. I have got very _____________ friends, so I’m alone most of the time.
  4. Would you like _____________ water?
  5. What you need is _____________ more self-confidence.
  6. _____________ is known about how the disease spreads.
  7. I’m sorry, but I speak _____________ Spanish. Can’t we communicate in English?
  8. Very _____________ people went to see the movie.
  9. Mary managed to get _____________ piece of cake.
  10. She saves _____________ money every month because she wants to go on a cruise next summer.
  11. There are _____________ posts that are really worth reading. Most of them are rubbish.
  12. I have drunk _____________ water today, so I guess that’s why I’m so thirsty.
  13. There are _____________ good books that I would recommend reading.
  14. Have you got any money left in your bank account? Yes, I have _____________, but not very much.
  15. There are _____________ cities in the world that have a multicultural society.
  16. There was _____________ time to finish the project, so we had to work on weekends.
  17. We stayed in New York for _____________ days before moving on to the Midwest.
  18. I’d like to tell you _____________ about my childhood.
  19. I made very _____________ mistakes, so I got a very good mark.
  20. I see _____________ reason for giving him _____________ days off.

Task 8. Complete the sentences with much or many.

  1. We don’t see _____________ flowers in winter.
  2. My daughter spends too _____________ money.
  3. There weren’t _____________ cars in the city yesterday.
  4. Thank you so _____________ for your help.
  5. You didn’t drink _____________ last night.
  6. Do you know _____________ people in Spain?
  7. Are there _____________ different insects species?
  8. I don’t speak _____________ French.
  9. She doesn’t have _____________ time to read.
  10. There was so_____________ noise that I couldn’t sleep.
  11. Are there_____________ houses painted in blue ?
  12. If you have too _____________ mistakes, you will not pass the test.
  13. _____________ insects die in winter.
  14. I love you so _____________.
  15. How _____________ do they cost?
  16. There were not _____________ women.
  17. He is _____________ taller than me.
  18. Sue doesn’t have _____________ friends
  19. I talked to her _____________ times.
  20. There wasn’t _____________ work to do.
  21. There are _____________ words I don’t know.
  22. How _____________ people are in the world?
  23. We are spending too _____________ money.
  24. There isn’t _____________ snow today.

Task 9. Fill in a few or fewa little or little

a few – has a positive meaning and is used for countables. (a few cookies)
a little – has a positive meaning and in used for uncountables (a little milk)
few – has a negative meaning- and is used for countables (few friends)
little – has a negative meaning- and is used for uncountables (little time)

  1. There are ___________ apples in the bowl.
  2. Look! ___________ seagulls are flying over our ferry.
  3. ___________ tourists visit Greece in the winter.
  4. There are very ___________ sailboats out today as it is so windy.
  5. ___________ of the chairs were painted blue- others were white.
  6. The sky is so blue- there are _______ clouds in the sky.
  7. There’s just _________ milk left, we need to buy more.
  8. She has so _________ free time that she never takes vacations.
  9. I’ve got _________ money with meenough for a coffee.
  10. Do you have _______ time to help me with my English exercises?
  11. This salad has so _______ olive oil on it – that it’s tasteless.
  12. He has ___________ patience for noisy children.
  13. There’s _____________ paint left in the jar.
  14. There’s so __________ paint in the jar that we can’t paint a picture.
  15. Spending ___________ hours in the sun every day is pleasant.
  16. We have been to the Greek islands ________ times.
  17. There were very __________ people in the bar last night.
  18. Would you like ___________ milk in your coffee?
  19. I’d like to spend _________ more time on the beach today.
  20. He has _________ patience for rude customers.
  21. Let’s see if there’s ___________ coffee left in the pot.
  22. Oh no! There’s so ________ coffee, we’ll have to make more.