2. The indefinite quantifiers - Free english lesson
Chapter The quantifiers


No, none, not any
« No », « not any » and « none » indicate the absence of quantity. We use them both with countable and uncountable nouns.
I have no idea.
He hasn't got any money.
None shall pass.


« None » is followed by of.
None of my children had the chickenpox.

A little, a few
In order to indicate a small quantity, we use « a little » when referring to an uncountable and « a few » when referring to a countable plural.
There are a few things I wanted you to know.
Do you have a little time?


Much, many, lot of
« Much », « many » and « a lot of »(or « lots of ») indicate a big quantity or a small quantity, when used in a sentence with a negative turning. We use « much » when referring to a an uncountable, « many » when referring to a countable plural and « a lot of » in any case.

We generally use « a lot of » in affirmative sentences and « much » in the sentences with negative or interrogative turnings.
There isn't much space in this car.
You've done so much for me.
They made many mistakes.
I have a lot of bills to pay.


Several
« Several » indicates an important quantity. We use it only with the countable.
There are several scratches on my car.

Enough
« Enough » means a sufficient quantity. We use it both with countable and uncountable.
Have you got enough money?
Enough talking!


Plenty of, a number of
« Plenty of » and « a number of » indicate a big quantity. « Plenty of » is used with the uncountable and « a number of » with the countable.
A number of things remain to be done.
They left plenty of food.


Both
« Both » allows us to differentiate two elements.
We both need help.
Do you speak English or Spanish? I speak both.


Whenever we use a personal pronoun after « both », we should add « of » after « both ».
Both of them are unreasonable.

In return, if we use a determiner and a noun after « both », we do not need to add « of » after « both » (even if the use of of remains correct.)
Both my cars are broken.
We can equally say : Both of my cars are broken.

« Both » allows us to express the simultaneity.
Clint Eastwood is both actor and director.

The two
« The two allows indication of two elements. Contrary to « both », it states a difference while « both » insists upon similarity.
The two brothers live in different towns.

Either
We use « either » to make a choice.
« Either » followed by a countable singular indicates that the two choices are convenient. Either ways lead to the house.

In a sentence with a negative turning, « either » indicates that none of the choices is convenient.
I don't like either cars.

We associate it to « or » to indicate a choice between two possibilities.
Either you take the car or you take the bus.

We use it as an adverb after a sentence with a negative turning.
I don't like cheese. I don't like either.

Most, most of the
« Most » and « most of the » mean the majority. We use « most » with the countable and « most of the » with countable and uncountable nouns.
Most kids don't like spinach.
I'm late most of the time.


All, All the
« All » and « all the » indicate the totality.
He spent all his money.
All the birds are gone.


When we indicate a time period (week, month, year, ...), we prefer « all » to « all the ».
He can work all night.
I will stay all day in Chicago.


« All » can be used as a pronoun.
Kids were so happy. All saw Santa Claus.
We all want to see him sing.


Whole
« Whole » indicates wholeness.
It took a whole day to fix the gutter.

Each
« Each » has only a singular form.
Each boy must wear a suit.

« Each » can be used as a pronoun.
I have two daughters. Each have two children.

« Each » can also be used as an adverb.
They each got half of the treasure.

Even if the translation is the same with « every », « each » insists more upon every element that it names. We still use « each » when the whole consists only of two elements.

Every
« Every » is always followed by a singular noun.
Every tree had been cut.
He goes to the doctor every month.


Several pronouns derive from « every » :
everyone, everybody
everything
everywhere


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