Unit 2.2

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).

Universal quantifiers [cuantificadores universales] indicate an indeterminate quantity of the noun to which they refer. They can express quantity, diversity, equality or quality.

Form

Universal quantifiers indicate an indefinite quantity of a noun.

An example of a universal quantifier is todo:

  • is variable, i.e. it usually agrees with the noun/noun phrase in gender and number and also with the verb in number;
  • it can also be invariable when used in expressions with an instruction value (e.g., todo recto);
  • must be combined with determiners:
  • is used in isolation when it is used as an answer to a question.
Singular Plural
Masculino todo todas
Femenino toda todas

Example

  • Todos los empleados tienen identificación;
  • El cliente siguió todo recto hasta llegar a la recepción;
  • Todos mis hijos adoran a los gatos del jefe;
  • Todos los gatos del cliente me detestan;
  • A mí todas esas impresoras me parecen malas;
  • ¿Qué quieres para tu negocio? → Todo.

Use

Universal quantifiers indicate an indefinite quantity of the noun to which they refer. They can express quantity, diversity, equality or quality:

  • todo/-a/-os/-as is used to indicate an amount concerning the total number of elements.

Summary

Universal quantifiers indicate an indeterminate quantity of a noun. A universal quantifier is todo in Spanish, which agrees with the noun/nominal syntagma in gender and number and with the verb in number. Still, it is invariable when used in expressions with an instructional value and stands alone when used to answer a question.

For example:
— «Todas estas personas han venido a verte (=feminine plural).» = combined with demonstratives (agrees with the noun and determiner in gender and number);

— «¿Quienes han venido a verme? Todos (=masculine plural).»= as an answer to a question, it stands alone.

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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