According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, quantifiers are a modifier for limit nouns mentioned in a sentence that expresses quantity of something. We normally stumble upon quantifiers in a text, such as ‘many’, ‘much’, ‘some’, etc. These quantifiers can be divided into three: quantifiers to express small quantities, large quantities, and undefined quantities.
Each quantifiers carry an explanation and can be tricky when they are used in a sentence. Hence, we need to learn how to use them properly in a sentence.
1. Small quantities
When the object quantities are small, we can use ‘a few’, ‘a little’ or ‘a bit (of)’. ‘A few’ is used for countable nouns, whereas ‘a little’ and ‘a bit (of)’ are for uncountable nouns. These quantifiers give “positive” sense.
e.g: - There were a few books in the table when I arrived.
- Can you add a little sugar on my coffee?
- They say that dress is a bit expensive but for me it’s not at all.
In contrast to the previous explanation, we can use ‘few’ or ‘little’ for small quantities to emphasize “negative” sense in the sentence.
e.g: - Not a lot know, but he has few friends.
- They’re so arrogant they always pay little attention to the class.
2. Large quantities
The use of ‘many’, ‘much’, and ‘a lot/lots of’ refers to the large quantities of the object. ‘many’ is used for countable nouns, while ‘much’ is for uncountable nouns. ‘a lot/lots of’ can be included in both nouns, but with exception that if the noun is uncountable, we do not change the form of noun into plural.
e.g: - You have many clothes inside your wardrobe! That is insane!
- We do not have much money left to buy another bike.
- I realized there were a lot/lots of sealed books in the hall.
- My brother did not have a lot/lots of time before the trains arrived.
We can add ‘so’ before ‘many’ and ‘much’ to indicate a really big quantity of the object.
e.g: - I could not concentrate on his explanations. He said so many words.
- I barely moved my feet because there was so much furniture in their house.
3. Undefined quantities
Undefined means there is no exact or specific quantity of the nouns. In this case, we can use ‘some’ and ‘any’. ‘some’ normally refers to medium quantities. The quantities that ‘any’ holds can be from one to infinity. These quantifiers can be used for countable and uncountable nouns. What makes them different is that ‘some’ is for affirmatives of positives, while ‘any’ is for negatives and questions.
e.g: - If you need some milk, there is a cartoon of it in my refrigerator.
- Some people do not really care about making social media presence.
- Do have any options beside taking the bus? I have motion sickness.
- Sorry, but I do not have any money at the moment.