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Unit 3.2

Quantitative Determiners


Determiners are modifiers of nouns. They can provide a wide range of information.

Quantitative determiners or quantifiers are used to indicate the quantity of something.

Below you can read the main quantitative determiners:

  • Countable nouns: We use both, many and (a) few;
  • Uncountable nouns: We use some, much and (a) little.

Countable nouns:

  • Both of them are going on holiday.
  • Not many people visit London every winter.
  • Were there only a few people at work?

Uncountable nouns:

  • Some people like football and basketball.
  • We do not have much time.
  • How little sugar is left?

Countable and uncountable nouns take different quantitative determiners which indicate the quantity of something.

Countable nouns

  • Both = One and the other of a pair of things;
  • Many = Big amount of separated objects;
  • (A) few = Little amount of something.

Uncountable nouns

  • Some = Undefined but considerable amount of something;
  • Much = Big amount of a mass;
  • (A) little =  Small amount of something.

[Few vs a few, little vs a little]

Quantitative determiners are used to indicate the quantity of something. Different quantitative determiners are used with different nouns.

  • Countable nouns, which can be counted easily and using numbers, can take the determiners both, many and (a) few;
  • Uncountable nouns, which cannot be counted easily and are considered as a “mass”, can take the following determiners: Some, much and (a) little.

For example:
Countable: “Can you buy a few coffees at the bar?” (= cups of coffee).
Uncountable: “Can you buy some coffee at the supermarket?” (= coffee in powder).

We can see the difference thanks to the noun “coffee” which can be both countable and uncountable, with a difference in meaning.

NOTE: Quantitative determiners are not interchangeable (when you can choose either or at any time), countable and uncountable use specific determiners and must use them.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.


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