Quantity Phrases

Indicate how much or how many

kid - hand raised
 

 

Quantifier vs. Phrase Noun Agreement

QUANTIFIER AGREEMENT

With some quantifier phrases, the quantifier agrees with the verb and is always singular.

VERB AGREES WITH QUANTIFIER

  arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Each
kid knows the answer.

   arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Each
of the kids knows the answer.

 

PHRASE AGREEMENT

With other quantifier phrases, the closest noun in the "of phrase" agrees with the verb.

VERB AGREES WITH PHRASE NOUN

move over  arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Most
of the kids know the answer.  (plural)

move over  arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Most
of the class knows the answer. (singular)

 

 

quantity (n.) – an amount of something that can be counted or measured
quantify (v.) – to determine, indicate, or express the quantity of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantifier Agreement

Singular Pattern List

 

 

 

Pattern 1a:  Singular Quantifier Agreement

SINGULAR QUANTIFIER   QUANTIFIER PHRASE   SINGULAR VERB FORM  
INDEFINITE GROUP    

ANY

Any child¹ 

needs love.

EVERY
 

Every child  

needs love.

DEFINITE GROUP    

EACH/ EACH OF

Each child / Each of the children

needs love.

ONE / ONE OF

One child / One of my children²

needs help.

MORE THAN ONE OF   

More than one of the kids

needs help.

NONE/ NONE OF / NOT ONE OF 

None

None of my children³

needs help.   (very formal)

need help. (more common)

NEITHER / NEITHER OF   (not one or the other)
EITHER / EITHER OF  (one or the other – not sure which one)

Neither child / Neither of my children   

wants help.

MUCH OF / LITTLE OF    

Much of the class   

wants help.

¹Any is usually singular, but may occur in plural use as well.  Do any children need help?
²One/ A child needs a help. Note one is used as an article not a quantifier, here. *One/ Two children needs help.
³In formal usage none / none of agrees with the quantifier; in informal usage none agrees with the noun.  None of the book are here. (informal) / None of the books is here. (formal)
Also see: (neither...nor)    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantifier Agreement

Plural Pattern List

 

 

 

Pattern 1b:  Plural Quantifier Agreement

QUANTIFIER   QUANTIFIER PHRASE   PLURAL VERB FORM  
INDEFINITE GROUP    

ALL 

All children   (*All child)

need love.

MOST  

Most children  (*Most child)

need love.

SOME  

Some children   (*Some child)

need love.

MANY / SEVERAL / FEW  

Many children  (*Many/*Few child) 

need love.

MOST  

Most children  

need love.

DEFINITE GROUP    

BOTH 

Both children / Both of the children / Both of my children

need love.

A COUPLE OF / A GROUP OF / A NUMBER OF / SEVERAL OF/ MANY OF / A FEW OF  

A  couple of the children 
( *A number children, *plenty children, but a couple children, a dozen children – no "of".)

are absent. (plural)

*Not used.  (A plural marker is not used with a singular noun).
**Some child is knocking on the door. (an unknown person)
Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "A couple"  (a dozen), Pop-Q "One of the few"

Also see More / -er…than,   Most/-est and Much / More 
Comparative forms:   much–more–most / many–more–most

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phrase Noun Agreement

Singular or Plural

 

 

 

Pattern 2: Phrase Noun Agreement  "Partitive Quantifiers"

QUANTIFIER   CLOSEST NOUN IN PHRASE   CORRESPONDING VERB FORMS  

ALL OF 

All of the class  (collective noun)
All of the kids 
All kids  (pl.)

knows the answer.   (sing.)
know the answer.   (pl.)
know answers.   (pl.)

MOST OF / MUCH OF

Most / Much of the class (sing.)
Most / Many of the kids (pl.)
Most kids (pl.)
Many kids (pl.)

likes mathematics.   (sing.)
like mathematics.   (pl.)

A LOT OF¹ / LOTS OF

lots, bags heaps, loads, oodles, stacks¹ 

A lot of the work  (noncount)
A lot of the assignments (count)
Lots of the work  (noncount)
Lots of the assignments (count)

is hard.   (sing.)
are hard.   (pl.)

A GREAT DEAL OF / A GOOD DEAL OF

a smidgen of, a bit of 

 

A great deal of work  (noncount)
*A great deal of the assignments (count)

 

A MAJORITY OF
Used with count collective nouns.

A majority of the students (count)
A majority of the class (collective noun)

like their teacher.   (pl.)
likes the teacher.    (sing.)

PLENTY OF / A SMALL AMOUNT OF / A LARGE AMOUNT OF
Used with a noncount noun and optionally an adjective.

A large amount of the work  (noncount)
A incredible amount of the work  (noncount)
A large amount of the assignments (count)

is hard.   (sing.)
are hard.   (pl.)

A NUMBER / A LARGE NUMBER / A SMALL NUMBER
Used with a count noun and optionally an adjective.

 

A  large number of the assignments (count)
A  incredible number of the assignments (count)

are hard.   (pl.)

SOME OF 

Some of the garden  (sing.)
Some of the plants  (pl.)
Some plants  (pl.)

needs water. (sing.)
need water. (pl.)

HALF OF  

Half of the book  (sing.)
Half of the books (pl.)
*Half books  

is about China. (sing.)
are about China. (pl.)

TEN PERCENT OF

Ten percent of the cost (sing.)
Ten percent of the fees (pl.)
*Ten percent cost

is tax. (sing.)
are tax.(pl.)

**NONE OF / NOT ANY OF

None of the class  (sing.)
None of the children (pl.)
*None children / *None child
 

needs  (sing.)
needs  (sing.) (very formal)
need help. (pl.)  (common) 

*Not used
Used with mass or collective nouns:  a large amount of (Garner 43)
count noun (individual items) / collective noun (all included as one, noncount)
**none / none of – Formal usage agrees with the quantifier; informal usage agrees with the noun.

¹Noncount quantificational nouns: (Huddleston 5 §3.3)
Plural obliques  (number of , couple of — are)
Singular obliques (deal of, amount of, quantity of — is)

Huddleston  "Partitive– some of the" "non-partitive – some" ( 5 §9.1) and "Non-count quantificational nouns" (5 §93.3); Azar (6-3); Biber (4.3.6)

Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "Small amount"

Also see Much / Many, Little / Few , Most /Most of the , More / -er…than,   Most/-est 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fractional Quantities

Half

The Capitol

 

 

A Half / Half a

A HALF

An article (determiner) is used before a fraction: a half, a third, a fourth.  A prepositional phrase is used after the quantity: of a kilo, of a dollar, of an apple.   The expression a half + of a noun is often reduced to a half noun (less common with third, quarter, etc.)

The Capitol is a half mile ahead.  (common)
% The Capitol is a quarter mile ahead.
* The Capitol is a third mile ahead.     

A half hour is a long time to wait. 
% A quarter hour is a long time to wait.
A third hour is a long time to wait.   

We bought a half pound of peanuts. 
We bought one and a half pounds of peanuts.
One and a half pounds are enough. (pl.)
 

HALF A

The expression a half + of a noun can be reduced to half + a noun before an expression of quantity or measurement (mile, pound, hour, degree, etc.)   I'd like (a) half (of) a pound.                                                                                                                                              

The Capitol is half a mile ahead.
%The Capitol is half of a mile ahead.
* The Capitol is quarter a mile ahead.     

Half an hour is a long time to wait.
*Half of an hour is a long time to wait.
* Quarter an hour is a long time to wait.

We bought half a pound of peanuts.
Half a pound of peanuts is enough.
* We bought one and half a pound of peanuts.
 

 

% Less commonly used; used by some speakers; more often of is left out (not incorrect)
* Not used (yet not incorrect)
Also note: We ordered a "half grapefruit". (a menu item)  vs.  We ate half a grapefruit. (a quantity);  We ate "raw oysters on the half shell." (a menu item) vs. We ate oysters on half a shell.  (a quantity-fraction) 

 

 

 

Half of / Half

HALF OF

A prepositional phrase with of is commonly used after a fraction: a half + of a noun.  (Also third, fourth, fifth, tenth, etc.)

Half of the tour was about history.  (before a noun)

We spent half of our time visiting museums. 

We saw half of them.   (before a pronoun)

The two halves of Congress will meet.   (with a larger number)

HALF

Usually, we shorten the prepositional phrase – omitting 'of' – before a noun of measurement (inch, kilo, hour, etc.) We tend to say: 'half an inch, half a kilo, half an hour'. 'I'd like half a pound of nuts.' Include 'of' after other fractions 'a third of a pound' or with plurals 'two-thirds of a pound'.

Half the tour was about history.  (before a noun)

We spent half our time visiting museums.

*We saw half them.    (Use half of before a pronoun.)

*The two halves Congress will meet.  (Use of.)
   

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

(Swan 333)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantity of

Negatives

 

 

 

QUANTITY

Use a negative word before a quantity expression to indicate little or none.

There's not much of the toilet paper left. / Little of the toilet paper is left. (some)

Not any of the toilet paper is left.  (no amount)

None of the toilet paper is left.  

A UNIT

Use not a before a unit amount to indicate few or none.  Optionally, use the before the noun.

There's not a lot of toilet paper left.  (some)

Not a sheet of toilet paper is left.  (0 pieces)

Not a one/ a bit/ a piece is left.  one (pronoun) – refers to sheet

 

Solution - lightbulbPop-Q "Not a…one"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare

Each / Every

hula hoop
 

 

Each / Every

EACH

Each focuses on an individual or unit and includes "all".  The individual is special or important. Each is singular in agreement.

FOCUS ON THE INDIVIDUAL

Each child gets a cookie today.  You are special.  (attention to the individual)

Each child is receiving special attention at our school. (good for the individual)

EVERY

Every focuses on the inclusion of all individuals or units in a group. Including every one (item) is important. Every is singular in agreement.

FOCUS ON INCLUSION

Every child gets a cookie today.  (attention to not forgetting anyone)

All children get a cookie / cookies¹ today. (pl – in general, no group)

Every child is receiving special attention at our school. (good for the group)

 

Each and every are mostly interchangeable.
¹ Agreement is more difficult with plural all. Unclear: do all children get one cookie (shared) or do all children get one or more (per child)?
inclusion (n.) – having all elements as a whole group

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare

A number of / The number of

hula hoop
 

 

A number of / The number of

A NUMBER OF

A number of, "several"  (an indefinite number) modifies a plural noun. Together they are plural in agreement with the verb. [modifier + noun]

A number of hula hoops are pink. 

We saw a number of hula hoops.  (several) 

A number of hula hoops have disappeared. (are missing)

THE NUMBER OF

 The number of states a quantity, an exact or inexact amount. The noun is singular in agreement with the verb.  [noun + prep phrase]

The number of hula hoops is fifteen.  

We saw the number of  hula hoops. (Use a BE verb.)
We saw that the number of hula hoops was rather small. /We noticed the number of hula hoops. (the overall amount)

The number of hula hoops has increased
 

 

Also see:  A number of / The number of  (articles)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

 

       modifies students
*One of the girls who is learning English was born in India.

(a misidentified subject)

 

*Of the girls who is learning English, one was born in India.

(You can more easily see the error if you reword the sentence.)

 

 

 
SOLUTION
MAIN CLAUSE

  modifies students

One [of the girls] was born in India. 

 The subject is one.

MODIFYING CLAUSE

             modifies students

of the girls (who) are learning English

 The subject is who which refers to girls.

TOGETHER IN ONE SENTENCE

One of the girls who are learning English was born in India.

 (The verb are is in the modifying clause whose subject is who (girls).

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Spending Vacation Time

guy in hammock
 

 

Quantity Phrase Agreement

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-10" button.

spend time – pass time, use time

 

1.

2.

3.

4.
 

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.
  (I have no particular plans.)

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Martha's Show

Martha's TV Show
 

 

Read for Errors

Much of Martha's ideas are interesting ones. One of her usual topics are keeping a home vegetable garden. Some of her demonstrations seems easy to do. Much of the food look fresh and colorful. She grows lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, and so on—all of the food are organic.

Half of the shows is about cooking. Each of her guests assist her. Most of the guests have a good time helping. Sometimes, neither she nor her guest are paying attention to the time. None of the guests leave without having fun.

assist (v.) — help do something

cooking demonstration (n.) — show; how-to-do something

guest (n.) — an invited person

pay attention (v.p.) — look, listen, and think about something completely

turn out (v.) — result

 

 

 

 

Determine if the sentence is correct or incorrect.

  1. Select the option that best describes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 11-20" button.

 

11.
Much of Martha's television program are interesting.
   

12.
One of her usual topics are keeping a home vegetable garden.
   

13.
Some of her demonstrations seems easy to do. 
   

14.
Much of the food looks fresh and colorful.
   

15.
She grows lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, and so on—all of the food are organic.
   

16.
Half of the shows is about  cooking.
   

17.
Each of her guests assist her.
   

18.
Most of the guests have a good time helping.
   

19.
Sometimes, neither she nor her guest are paying attention to the time.
   

20.
None of the guests leave without having fun.
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Vitamin Water

Vitamin Water
 

 

Read the Paragraph (without quantifiers)

Vitamin water sold in colorful bottles has little nutritional value. The nutrients vary from one brand to the next. A possible benefit is hydration —drinking enough water. People don't drink enough water, so these flavored waters may help them want to consume more water. However, these vitamin-water drinks contain a lot of sugar. Brand drinks contain artificial sweeteners.

[The water] has flavoring. [The bottle] contains more than one serving. This means [% bottle] is the serving for the calories on the label. [A bottle] of this vitamin water is expensive. Instead, nutritionists advise eating a healthy diet with nutrient rich vegetables and fruit. You can get your nutrition from eating a healthy diet.

artificial (adj.) – man-made, not natural

benefit (n.) – advantage, improvement, help

consume (v.) – eat or drink

hydration (n.) – drinking and keeping enough water in the body

nutrients (n.) –  calories and vitamins that give the body what it needs to grow

nutritional (adj.) – relating to the substances in food that help you to stay healthy

nutritionist (n.) – a person who studies and advises people about what is healthy to eat

sweetener (n.) – sugar or syrup that makes food sweet

value (n.) the importance or usefulness of something

vary (v.) – differ

vitamin (n.) – a chemical substance in food that is necessary for good health, such as Vitamins A, C, or D.

 

 

 

Add Quantifiers

  1. Select the option that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 21-30" button.

 

21-30
these vitamin-water drinks contain a lot of sugar.