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Quantifiers

In this lesson, we will be learning about quantifiers. What do quantifiers refer to? Quantifiers come from the word “quantity”, which basically helps in describing a particular amount. Quantifiers help us communicate how many/much there is of something. We use “many” mostly for countable nouns (for instance: apples, books, plates etc.) and “much” for uncountable nouns (for instance: water, rice, dust).

How to Identify Countable & Uncountable Nouns?

  1. When things normally exist in large quantities and are difficult to count, we usually treat them as "uncountable". Also, knowing the correct or most suitable vocabulary to use for which uncountable noun is important. For example, You should use "some rice" to quantify and not "a few rice". You can also say "a few grains of rice", but a "grain" is countable.
  2. Not only this but some ideas or "things" are also considered uncountable such as "laughter". On the other hand, "ideas" and "thoughts" are considered "countable" as you can have "an idea", "a thought", "2 ideas", etc. For example:
  • “We heard some laughter” and not “We heard two laughters”.
  • “I have some/two ideas”.
  1. For some questions, you will need to further decide if there is a large or small quantity of the object in question.


Practice Questions

Question 1:

I have watched this movie __________ times. I have even memorised all the dialogues!

Hint: Can you count the number of times?

  1. Much
  2. Many
  3. Some
  4. A few

Answer:

(2) - many

Explanation:

Option (1), (3) & (4) are used for uncountable nouns. So, the correct answer to this question is option (2) - many.

 

Question 2: 

This shop sells __________ different flavours of ice cream. I can eat a new flavour every week for a whole year!

  1. A few
  2. Some
  3. Many
  4. Much

Answer:

(3) many

Explanation:

As the question states that a new ice cream flavour can be tried every week for a whole year, this means that the ice cream flavours are countable. So, options "some" & "much" are incorrect as those are used with countable nouns. As we are talking about a total number of weeks in a year (52 weeks) and not a few weeks, "a few" is also incorrect. 

So, the correct answer to this question is option (3) - "many".

How can you check your answer?

  1. If you are ever in doubt regarding countable and uncountable nouns, you should test the word out. Now, what do we mean by saying that we should “test the word out”? Let’s understand with the help of an example.

For Example:

When you use the word "food", you don't say "one food" or "two food"; you will say "one dish" or "two dishes". When you use the word "water", you don't say "one water" or "two waters"; you say "one glass of water" or "two glasses of water". So, the vocabulary used to match the noun is important to determine whether we define it as countable or uncountable.

  1. A helpful way to figure out if a noun is countable or uncountable is to imagine it! If it has a fixed/clear image, it is likely countable.

For Example:

If I say "rice", you might think of a grain of rice, whereas I might be thinking of a plate of rice. "Rice" is uncountable, but a grain of rice or a plate of rice is countable.

If I say "chair" then we would be thinking of a piece of furniture to sit on. The designs may vary, but it would be a singular chair nonetheless.


Practice Questions

Question 1:

There were __________ hungry pigeons outside my window but I did not have enough food to feed all of them.

  1. Many
  2. Much
  3. A few
  4. Little

Answer:

(1) many

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (1) - “many” as “I did not have enough food to feed all of them” indicates that there were many hungry pigeons outside the window.

 

Question 2: 

My home is only __________ stops away from the mall. It takes around five minutes to get there.

  1. Much
  2. Many
  3. A little
  4. A few

Answer:

(4) a few

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (4) - “a few” as it is mentioned that it takes around five minutes to get there.


Test Your Concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you get stuck, revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

Question 1: 

There isn’t __________ milk left. I will buy some more later.

  1. A few
  2. Some
  3. Many
  4. Much

 

Question 2: 

This device has __________ switches. I am confused as to which one to turn on.

  1. Some
  2. Many
  3. Much
  4. A few

 

Question 3:

There were __________ of people at the book fair.

  1. A few
  2. Little
  3. A lot
  4. Much

 

Question 4:

__________ of us got together to plan a surprise party for our friend. I only called a small group of people to plan it.

  1. A lot
  2. A few
  3. Many
  4. Much

Continue Learning
Grammar Cloze Exercises Vocabulary MCQ Part 1
Tenses Relative Pronouns
Descriptive Writing Techniques Composition Writing
Synthesis & Transformation Vocabulary MCQ Part 2
Vocabulary Cloze Editing
Comprehension Cloze Quantifiers
Distributives Guess The Lyrics
Spelling Bee The Final Transformation
Vocabulary Cloze 2 Comprehension
Grammar Cloze Distributives 2
Prepositions  

 

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