Using Noun Quantifiers in English
Much・Many・A Lot Of・Plenty Of・A Little・A Few・Some・Any
There are a lot of words that we can use to express quantity in English, such as much, many, a lot of, plenty of, a little, a few, some, any, etc. In general, the usage of these words depends on whether they are countable or uncountable nouns. Let’s learn how to use each of them in the correct way!
Countable vs Uncountable Nouns
Countable nouns are objects that can be counted, while uncountable nouns cannot be counted. Countable nouns may have both singular and plural forms. On the other hand, uncountable nouns only have a singular form.
Large Quantity Quantifiers
We can use the following quantifiers for expressing ‘a great number of things’:
|Large Quantity Quantifier||Usage||Examples|
|much||uncountable nouns||time, water|
|many||countable nouns||books, cats|
|a lot of||countable and uncountable nouns||people, money|
|plenty of||countable and uncountable nouns||toys, jokes|
Much vs Many
How much rice did you eat?
[rice = uncountable]
How many bowls of rice did you eat?
[bowls of rice = countable]
A lot of
I still have a lot of housework to do.
[housework = uncountable]
They bought a lot of beers.
[beers = countable]
We have plenty of time to spend.
[time = uncountable]
There are plenty of books in the library.
[books = countable]
Small Quantity Quantifiers
We can use the following quantifiers for expressing ‘a small amount of things’:
|Small Quantity Quantifier||Usage||Examples|
|a little||uncountable nouns||milk, happiness|
|a few||countable nouns||friends, days,|
|some||countable and uncountable nouns, affirmative statements, offerings or requests, interrogatives||wine, friends|
|any||negative statements, interrogatives||cheese, questions|
A little vs A few
There is a little sugar left in the jar.
[sugar = uncountable]
We encountered a few problems while sending this message.
[message = countable]
Some vs Any
I put some cakes in the fridge.
[cakes = countable, affirmative]
I did not put any cake in the fridge.
[cakes = countable, negative]
Offering or Requests
When you want to offer or request something from someone, use some.
Would you like to have some juices?
Can I have some bread, please?
Both some and any can be used in interrogatives. However, they are being used in different ways. Let’s say:
You are in a bakery and you want to buy a cheesecake.
If you see the cheesecake on the display, you would say:
Can I have some of these cheesecakes, please?
However, if you there is no cheesecake on the display, you would say:
Have you got any cheesecakes?
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