This lesson is about quantifiers in English. There is an interactive exercise on this topic here. This lesson is part of a free upper-intermediate English grammar course.

Quantifiers are words or phrases that indicate the quantity or amount of something in a sentence. They help provide more information about nouns and pronouns. Here’s a detailed grammar description of the use of quantifiers in English:

Many / Much / A Lot of

We use these words to talk about a large quantity of something. We generally use much and many in negative sentences and questions, much for uncountable and many for countable nouns. We generally use a lot of in positive sentences.

Countable Uncountable
Positive– There are a lot of books on the shelf.– There is a lot of water in the glass.
Negative– There aren’t many apples in the basket.– There isn’t much sugar left.
Question– Are there many students in this group?– Is there much time left?
Table showing the typical use of a lot of / lots of, much / many in positive and negative sentences and questions with countable and uncountable nouns.

Much / Many

Much and many are generally, but not exclusively, used in negative sentences.

  • Many: Used with countable nouns (e.g., books, cars).
    • Example: There aren’t many books on the shelf.
  • Much: Used with uncountable nouns (e.g., water, time).
    • Example: I don’t have much time.

Not Much / Not Many

  • Not Much: Used with uncountable nouns.
    • Example: There’s not much sugar left.
  • Not Many: Used with countable nouns.
    • Example: There are not many apples in the basket.

If you want to study countable and uncountable nouns in more detail, check out this lesson on countables and uncountables.

A Lot of

A lot of is usually used in positive sentences, but can also be used in negatives and questions.

  • Used with both countable and uncountable nouns. Usually in positive sentences.
    • Example: She has a lot of friends.

Few / Little

With countable nounsWith uncountable nouns
Few people came to the concert.There was little interest in the concert.
  • Few: Used with countable nouns, indicating a small number.
    • Example: There are few people at the party.
  • Less: Used with uncountable nouns, indicating a smaller amount.
    • Example: I have less money than you.

Fewer / less

With countable nounsWith uncountable nouns
There were fewer people at the concert than we had hoped for.There was less interest in the concert than we had hoped for.


We use too with adjectives and nouns to say that something is excessive or more than ideal.

We use too directly with an adjective to say that this quality is excessive.

  • Indicates an excessive amount.
    • Example: It’s too hot today.

We combine too with many or much and a noun.

Indicates an excessive amount.

  • Indicates an excessive amount. Combine with much for uncountable nouns and many for countable nouns.
    • Example: There are too many people and there is too much noise.


We use enough to say that something is sufficient.

We use the word enough with nouns and adjectives.

Use enough before a noun or after and adjective.

Enough is often used in a negative form to say that something is not sufficient.

  • Indicates a sufficient quantity, used after an adjective..
    • Example: The project is easy enough to do on my own..
  • Indicates a sufficient quantity, used with both countable and uncountable nouns. Enough is used before an noun.
    • Example: I have enough time to finish the project.


We use plenty to say that there is more than we need, that there is an abundance, that we do not have a lack of or a shortage of something.

  • Indicates an abundant or more than sufficient amount.
    • Example: There is plenty of food for everyone.

No / Any / None

  • Used to indicate the absence or lack of something.
    • Example: There is no milk in the refrigerator.
    • Example: There isn’t any milk in the refrigerator.

Be careful to avoid double negatives in standard English. If the verb is already negative, use “any” in place of “no” to describe zero quantity.

incorrect: I can’t get no satisfaction.

Correct: I can’t get any satisfaction.

Using a negative verb with any or a positive verb with no are synonymous. So we could say

There is no milk


there isn’t any milk

with no difference in meaning.

We use none to express zero quantity. we cannot combine none with a noun.

Example: A: Is there any milk in the fridge? B: No, there is none. There isn’t any milk in the fridge.

All / Every / Both

We can use all to talk about 100% of a quantity of something.

All of the students were late.

We use both to talk about 100% of two things.

Both of my shoes are wet.

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