Grammar Worksheets, Quantifiers – A Few or A Little

Quantifiers

Quantifiers are used for expressing the quantity of objects. They generally go before a noun; for example, a few toys.

In the general frame, we can categorize quantifiers into four groups; defining small quantities (a little, a bit, a few),  large quantities (a lot, much, many), undefined quantities (some, any), and for sufficient amounts (enough, plenty).

Some

‘Some’ is used both with countable and uncountable nouns.  It is used in positive sentences, and interrogative sentences only for offer and demand cases.

Examples:

  • She needs some money. (Uncountable)
  • My son wants to have some crayons. (Countable)
  • Can I get some coffee? (Demand)
Any

‘Any’ is used with plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns. It is used only in negative and interrogative sentences.

Examples

  • She doesn’t have any money.  (Uncountable)
  • We don’t have any crayons.  (Countable)
  • Do you know any words in Japanese? (Countable)
Much

It means “a high amount” and is used only with uncountable nouns. It is used in negative and interrogative sentences, but not in affirmative sentences.

Examples

  • I don’t have much time.
  • Do you have much homework? 
  • How much bread do we have? 
Many

‘Many’  is used only with countable plural nouns. It can be used in all positive, negative, and interrogative sentences.

Examples

  • I have many things to do.
  • I can’t play many instruments. 
  • Who can speak many languages? 
  • How many people are joining the party? 
A lot of

It is used with countable plural nouns and uncountable nouns. It can be used in all positive, negative, and interrogative sentences.

Examples

  • I ate a lot of cookies during the break. (Countable-Positive)
  • I don’t have a lot of work. (Uncountable-Negative)
  • Have you sent a lot of invitation cards?

When used in affirmative sentences, “much”, “many” and “a lot of” mean the same thing. The only difference is that “a lot of” is preferred in spoken language, while “much” and “many” are preferred in written language.

A few

It means “several”. It is used only with countable plural nouns, and affirmative and interrogative sentences.

Examples

  • I have a few bags in my closet. 
  • Do you have a few neighbors around?

Note: Just “few” without “A” means “almost never”.

A little

It is used only with uncountable nouns in affirmative and interrogative sentences. 

Examples

  • We have a little almond milk. 
  • Does she have a little money? 

Note: Just “little” without “A” means “almost never”.

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