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Quantifiers are words that tell you the amount of, how much, or how many you have of a noun. For instance:

I have a lot of cheese.

The quantifier ‘lot of’ tells us how much cheese I have.

There are three types of quantifiers:

  1. quantifiers that only work with countable nouns,

  2. quantifiers that only work with non-countable nouns, and

  3. quantifiers that work with both.

A countable noun is something that you can count using whole numbers (for instance using the fingers of your hand). Examples of countable nouns are ‘dogs’, ‘cats’, ‘cakes’ and ‘eggs’. I could count how many of each of these I have using whole numbers - ‘5 dogs’, ‘23 cakes’, ‘12 eggs’ for instance.

A non-countable noun is the opposite of a countable noun - something you can’t easily count using whole numbers. A lot of continuous quantities are non-countable, such as how much water you have in a glass or how much exercise you did last night. You can’t say you did ‘5 exercise last night’ or that you have ‘7 water in my glass’.

Quantifiers like ‘few’, ‘several’, and ‘couple of’ work with countable nouns, like in these sentences:

I have a few tennis rackets.

Sally has a couple of tickets for the concert tonight.

Quantifiers like ‘a little’, ‘a bit of’, and ‘a large amount of’ work with non-countable nouns, like in these sentences:

I have a large amount of work to do this weekend.

Break me off a bit of chocolate please.

And then there are the quantifiers that can be used with either countable or non-countable nouns. Some of these include ‘a lot of’, ‘all of’, ‘most’, and ‘some’. Here’s an example of how they can be used both ways:

With a non-countable noun:

I have some work to do this weekend.

With a countable noun:

I have some assignments to do this weekend.