ENG2: Words of Quantity

This unit is about words of quantities; many, much, aliitle, a few e.t.c and how they are used.

Some and Any

The words some and any are used when the speaker cannot specify or does not need/want to specify a number or an exact amount. Compare the following sentences:

– I saw seven deer when riding my bike in the forest yesterday. (It is important that you know how many deer I saw.)
– I saw some deer when riding my bike in the forest yesterday. (I don’t know exactly how many deer I saw. Or: It is not important that you know exactly how many deer I saw.)Image result for quantifiers

The general rule is that any is used for questions and negatives while some is used for positive.

Both may be used with countable and uncountable nouns.

Do we need any rice?

No, we don’t need any rice.

We have some rice in the cupboard.

  • I didn’t get any nice presents for Christmas this year.
  • I looked in the cupboard but I couldn’t find any biscuits.
  • I don’t need any help.
  • She’s so rude. No wonder she doesn’t have any friends.
  • I don’t have anything to wear to the dance.
  • I’m not hungry. I don’t want anything to eat.

some is used in positive sentences:

  • I got some nice presents for Christmas this year.
  • This job is going to take some time.
  • Look! There are some large black birds on the roof of the church.
  • You have some butter on your chin.
  • If you are hungry, there are some biscuits in the cupboard.
  • I’m sure I’ll return to Japan some day.
  • There is somebody on the phone for you.
  • I’d like to go somewhere hot this summer.

Some may also be used for questions, typically offers and requests, if we think the answer will be positive.

Would you like some wine?

May I have some more chocolate?

We can use some in questions when offering/requesting:

  • Would you like some more tea?
  • Could I have some milk, please?
  • Do you want something to eat?

We use any in positive sentences when we mean it doesn’t matter which ..:

  • You can come and ask for my help any time.
  • Which book shall I read? – Any one. It’s up to you.
  • You can sit anywhere but here. This is my seat!

Much and Many

Both much and many are used to talk about an indefinite quantity or number. Note that much is used before an uncountable noun.Many is used before a countable noun.

These work in the same way as some and any.

Do we have much time?

Were there many people at the party?

A lot of is used for positive.

There were a lot of people at the party.

  1. Phillip owns many properties in France.
  2. We didn’t earn much profit this year.
  3. How much money have you got?
  4. Sharon does not have many friends.
  5. There are too many students in this class.
  6. It doesn’t need much milk.
  7. We had so much fun.
  8. I spent many days there.

Again, much and many may also be used in questions if the speaker thinks that the answer will be positive.


When any, much/many are used in negative sentences, the verb is in the negative form. It is also possible to produce negative by using no or none.

There weren’t any people in the restaurant.

There were no people at the restaurant.

Were there any problems during the project?

There were none.

A little, A few (positive effect)

Use a little for non-countable nouns (e.g., jam, time). Use a few if the noun is countable (e.g., jars of jam, students).

Mary said nothing, but she drank some tea and ate a little bread.

We stayed a few days in Florence and visited the museums.

For example:

  1. I have coffee with a little milk.
  2. She likes a few songs by Frank Sinatra.

Examples for a little / a few

  1. I always enjoy a little cream and sugar in my coffee.
  2. Jesse has a few speeding tickets, so his insurance rate is higher than mine.
  3. We have a little extra time this afternoon; do you want to watch a movie?
  4. There were a few horses grazing in front of the barn.
  5. Have a little salsa on your eggs. It’s delicious!
  6. A few coconuts fell from the tree. One of them hit Aaron, causing him to yelp.
  7. I really would like a litlle peace and quiet.
  8. My neighbor let me pick a few peaches from his tree.
  9. A few of his films were seen abroad.

(A) little, (a) few without a noun

We can use (alittle and (afew as pronouns. We can use them to substitute for a noun when it is obvious from the context:

After that, she began to tell them a little about her life in Scotland, particularly her life with the Rosenblooms.

Don’t take all the strawberries. Just have a few. (Just have a few strawberries.)

Little/ Few (Negative Effect)

We use little with uncountable nouns. We use few with plural countable nouns. They are used in formal contexts:

I’m not very happy about it but I suppose I have little choice.

Few cities anywhere in Europe can match the cultural richness of Berlin.

[talking about a period of history]

At that time few people travelled who didn’t have to.Image result for quantifiers

So, such

“So” and “such” are used to add emphasis, to show extreme emotions or to give an opinion on something. The difference between the two is in their use within the structure of the sentence.


Enough implies a sufficient quantity; it is used in affirmations, negations and questions.

I’ve done enough work for one day.
There were enough strong men to move the fallen tree.
We can get tickets for the concert, I’ve got enough money now.
Have you got enough money for the tickets?
No, I haven’t got enough.Enough can be used as a quantifier when it is placed before any noun, to indicate the quantity required or necessary. It can be used in both affirmative and negative sentences.

  • There is enough bread for lunch.
  • She has enough money.
  • There are not enough apples for all of us.
  • I don’t have enough sugar to make a cake.

NOTE : do not confuse….

enough as a quantifier adjective preceding a noun, as in

I’ve done enough work for one day.


so + quantifier [many/few, much/little] + noun

“So” can be used with quantifiers to indicate extremes in quantity, but it is important to remember the rules regarding the uses of quantifiers, countable and uncountable nouns, singulars and plurals.


  Teresa has so many talents!
  With three kids and a full-time job, my sister has so little free time.
  I have so few memories of my childhood.
  The children watch so much television.

Plenty/Plenty of( Stronger than, ‘enough’)

plenty and plenty of signifies enough and more of a noun.

I have lots of peanut butter left in this jar.

We use plenty as a pronoun to mean ‘enough’ or ‘more than enough’:


How much money do you think I need to bring with me?


About one hundred pounds should be plenty.

[A is pouring milk into B’s coffee]


Is that enough?


That’s plentyThanks.

The cardinal numbers (one, two, three, etc.) are adjectives referring to quantity, and the ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) refer to distribution.

Number Cardinal Ordinal
1 one first
2 two second
3 three third
4 four fourth
5 five fifth
6 six sixth
7 seven seventh
8 eight eighth
9 nine ninth
10 ten tenth
11 eleven eleventh
12 twelve twelfth
13 thirteen thirteenth
14 fourteen fourteenth
15 fifteen fifteenth
16 sixteen sixteenth
17 seventeen seventeenth
18 eighteen eighteenth
19 nineteen nineteenth
20 twenty twentieth
21 twenty-one twenty-first
22 twenty-two twenty-second
23 twenty-three twenty-third
24 twenty-four twenty-fourth
25 twenty-five twenty-fifth
26 twenty-six twenty-sixth
27 twenty-seven twenty-seventh
28 twenty-eight twenty-eighth
29 twenty-nine twenty-ninth
30 thirty thirtieth
31 thirty-one thirty-first
40 forty fortieth
50 fifty fiftieth
60 sixty sixtieth
70 seventy seventieth
80 eighty eightieth
90 ninety ninetieth
100 one hundred hundredth
500 five hundred five hundredth
1,000 one thousand thousandth
1,500 one thousand five hundred, or fifteen hundred one thousand five hundredth
100,000 one hundred thousand hundred thousandth
1,000,000 one million millionth
  • There are twenty-five people in the room.
  • He was the fourteenth person to win the award.
  • Six hundred thousand people were left homeless after the earthquake.
  • I must have asked you twenty times to be quiet.
  • He went to Israel for the third time this year.


Read decimals aloud in English by pronouncing the decimal point as “point”, then read each digit individually. Money is not read this way.

Written Said
0.5 point five
0.25 point two five
0.73 point seven three
0.05 point zero five
0.6529 point six five two nine
2.95 two point nine five


Read fractions using the cardinal number for the numerator and the ordinal number for the denominator, making the ordinal number plural if the numerator is larger than 1. This applies to all numbers except for the number 2, which is read “half” when it is the denominator, and “halves” if there is more than one.

Written Said
1/3 one third
3/4 three fourths
5/6 five sixths
1/2 one half
3/2 three halves


Percentages are easy to read aloud in English. Just say the number and then add the word “percent”.

Written Pronounced
5% five percent
25% twenty-five percent
36.25% thirty-six point two five percent
100% one hundred percent
400% four hundred percent


To read a sum of money, first read the whole number, then add the currency name. If there is a decimal, follow with the decimal pronounced as a whole number, and if coinage has a name in the currency, add that word at the end. Note that normal decimals are not read in this way. These rules only apply to currency.

Written Spoken
25$ twenty-five dollars
52€ fifty-two euros
140₤ one hundred and forty pounds
$43.25 forty-three dollars and twenty-five cents (shortened to “forty-three twenty-five” in everyday speech)
€12.66 twelve euros sixty-six
₤10.50 ten pounds fifty


Just read out the number, followed by the unit of measurement, which will often be abbreviated in the written form.

Written Spoken
60m sixty meters
25km/h twenty-five kilometers per hour
11ft eleven feet
2L two liters
3tbsp three tablespoons
1tsp one teaspoon


Reading years in English is relatively complicated. In general, when the year is a four digit number, read the first two digits as a whole number, then the second two digits as another whole number. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Years that are within the first 100 years of a new millenium can be read as whole numbers even though they have four digits, or they can be read as two two-digit numbers. Millennia are always read as whole numbers because they would be difficult to pronounce otherwise. New centuries are read as whole numbers of hundreds. We do not use the word “thousand”, at least not for reading years within the past 1000 years.

Years that have just three digits can be read as a three digit number, or as a one digit number followed by a two-digit number. Years that are a two digit number are read as a whole number. You can precede any year by the words “the year” to make your meaning clear, and this is common for two and three digit years. Years before the year 0 are followed by BC, pronounced as two letters of the alphabet.

Interestingly, these rules apply to reading street addresses as well.

Written Spoken
2014 twenty fourteen or two thousand fourteen
2008 two thousand eight
2000 two thousand
1944 nineteen forty-four
1908 nineteen o eight
1900 nineteen hundred
1600 sixteen hundred
1256 twelve fifty-six
1006 ten o six
866 eight hundred sixty-six or eight sixty-six
25 twenty-five
3000 BC three thousand BC
3250 BC thirty two fifty BC


There are several ways to pronounce the number 0, used in different contexts. Unfortunately, usage varies between different English-speaking countries. These pronunciations apply to American English.

Pronunciation Usage
zero Used to read the number by itself, in reading decimals, percentages, and phone numbers, and in some fixed expressions.
o (the letter name) Used to read years, addresses, times and temperatures
nil Used to report sports scores
nought Not used in the USA
Written Said
3.04+2.02=5.06 Three point zero four plus two point zero two makes five point zero six.
There is a 0% chance of rain. There is a zero percent chance of rain.
The temperature is -20⁰C. The temperature is twenty degrees below zero.
You can reach me at 0171 390 1062. You can reach me at zero one seven one, three nine zero, one zero six two
I live at 4604 Smith Street. I live at forty-six o four Smith Street
He became king in 1409. He became king in fourteen o nine.
I waited until 4:05. I waited until four o five.
The score was 4-0. The score was four

ASSIGNMENT : ENG: Words of quantity Assignment MARKS : 30  DURATION : 4 days

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