Unit 2.2

Non-Universal Quantifiers

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Introduction

Quantifiers [cuantificadores] are words that indicate a quantity of the subject or object.

They are classified as universal, non-universal, numeral, non-numeral and gradational (or degree) [universales, no universales, numerales, no numerales y gradativos (o de grado).

Non-universal quantifiers [cuantificadores no universales] indicate that something is true for all individuals and express a quantity, diversity, equality or quality in the sentence.

Form

One of the subcategories of quantifiers is that of non-universal quantifiers. These can be divided into affirmatives and negatives:

Affirmatives

The main affirmative non-universal quantifiers are demasiado/-a/-os/-as and otro/-a/-os/-as.

They are variable, i.e. they usually agree with the noun in gender and number as follows:

Singular Plural
demasiado/a demasiados/as
otro/a otros/as

Negatives:

The main negative non-universal quantifiers are nada and nadie. They are used in negative sentences.

They are invariable, i.e. they have only one form:

  • nada is neutral. It is opposed to algo and todo;
  • nadie is always masculine and acts in the sentence as a noun. It stands alone when used as an answer to a question.

Example

Affirmatives:

  • Hay demasiada cola para hacer fotocopias;
  • Hay demasiados clientes esperando;
  • Otro anuncio no hará que suban las ventas;
  • Otras fábricas llevan la crisis mejor.

Negatives:

  • Nada de lo que hago como empresario me da beneficios;
  • Nada de lo que me dieron me ayudó a levantar la fábrica;
  • Nadie que trabaje de funcionario tendrá dificultades laborales;
  • Nadie sabe lo divertido que es trabajar en una panadería.

Use

Non-universal quantifiers indicate an indeterminate quantity of the noun to which they refer. They can express quantity, diversity, equality or quality:

  • affirmatives:
    • demasiado/-a/-os/-as is used to express an amount that exceeds what is necessary or desirable;
    • otro/-a/-os/-as is used to express diversity.
  • negatives:
    • nada is used to refer to elements whose identity we cannot or do not wish to specify;
    • nadie is used to refer to persons whose identity we cannot or do not wish to specify.

Summary

Non-universal quantifiers indicate an indeterminate quantify of the noun to which they refer. In Spanish, they are divided into affirmative and negative. Thus, for example, they can refer to people (nadie) and things (nada).

For example:

[Ejemplo para demasiado/-a/-os/-as];
[Ejemplo para otro/-a/-os/-as];
—«No, en la nevera no queda nada = Nos referimos a falta de cualquier cosa;
— «No, no he visto a nadie = Nos referimos a falta de personas.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

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