Grammar-QuizzesNoun PhrasesDeterminers › Quantity Phrases

Quantity Phrases

Indicate a particular amount

kid - hand raised
 

Each /  Both / Most

EACH— SINGULAR BOTH—PLURAL MOST—SINGULAR OR PLURAL

Each can be a determiner, a quantity noun or the head of a quantity phrase.  Each is included in a group of quantifiers that are singular in agreement with the verb.

Both can be a determiner, a quantity noun or the head of a  quantity phrase. . Both is included in a group of quantifiers that are plural in agreement with the verb.

 

Most is a quantity noun or the head of a quantity phrase. Most is included in a group of quantifiers in which the verb agrees with the noun in the prep. phrase or "closest noun". (singular or plural)

DETERMINER    

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

            arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Both
kids know the answer. 

            arrow indicates one and knows agrees
¹Most kids know the answer.

QUANTITY NOUN    

   arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Each knows the answer. 

   arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Both
know the answer. 

      arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Most
know the answer. (plural)

QUANTITY NOUN PHRASE    

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

arrow indicates one and knows agrees
Both of the kids know the answer. 

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

quantity (N) – an amount of something that can be counted or measured

quantify (V) – to determine, indicate, or express the quantity of

quantifiers (N) – a grammatical term for noun markers expressing quantity

¹Most kids — (informal) shortened from most of noun; the "of phrase" is understood from the contextual clues.

The mostThe (Art) is used before most (N) when "most" has the meaning of superlative The most I can tell you is…  The best that I can do is…

Categories: N – noun; NP – noun phrase; Det — determiner; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adv – adverb; PP – prepositional phrase

 

 

 

 

 

Quantifiers like Each

Singular in Agreement

 

 

 

Pattern 1a:  Determiner + Noun → Singular

DETERMINER (QUANTIFIER) NOUN PHRASE PREDICATE + COMPLMENT
INDEFINITE GROUP DETERMINER + NOUN SINGULAR

ANY

Any child¹ 

needs love.

EVERY  

Every child  

needs love.

DEFINITE GROUP    

ONE  

One child   (cardinal number)

A child   (an unspecific one)

needs love.

EACH

Each child

needs love.

NEITHER / EITHER

Neither child

needs help.

 

 

Pattern 1b:  Noun/Noun Phrase → Singular

SINGULAR QUANTIFIER QUANTIFIER / QUANTIFIER PHRASE PREDICATE + COMPLMENT
INDEFINITE GROUP NOUN & NOUN PHRASE SINGULAR VERB

ANY OF

*Any  / Any one

Any of the children

needs love.

EVERY OF (→ EVERY ONE OF)

*Every  / Every one

*Every of the children /  Every one of the children

needs love.

DEFINITE GROUP NOUN & NOUN PHRASE SINGULAR VERB

ONE OF / MORE THAN ONE OF 

One

One of my children²

needs help.

EACH OF

Each (N)

Each of the children (NP)

needs love.

NONE OF / NOT ONE OF 

None

None of my children³

needs help.   (formal)

need help. (common used)

NEITHER OF / EITHER OF 

Neither

Neither of the children   

wants help.

MUCH OF / LITTLE OF    

Much

Much of the writing   

needs work.

A GREAT DEAL OF / A GOOD DEAL OF / A SMALL AMOUNT OF / A LARGE AMOUNT OF

a smidgen of, a bit of 

 

A great deal of work  (noncount)

*A great deal of jobs (count)

is hard.   (sing.)

*Not used

¹Any is usually singular, but may occur in plural use as well.  Do any children need help?

Every one (N) — every individual, each person; Everyone (pronoun) — everybody, all

²One/ A child needs a help. Note one is used as an article not a quantifier, here. *One/ Two children needs help.

³ none / none of — formal usage agrees with the quantifier (singular) None of the books is here.; informal usage agrees with the noun of the phrase ("closest noun").  None of the book are here.

Also see A Determiner and (neither...nor)    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantifiers like Both

Plural in Agreement

 

 

Pattern 2a: Determiner + Noun → Plural

QUANTIFIER   QUANTIFIER PHRASE   PREDICATE COMPLEMENT  
DEFINITE GROUP DETERMINER PLURAL VERB

BOTH 

Both children

are absent. (plural)

FEW / MANY / SEVERAL

Few children / kids

are absent. (plural)

 

 

 

Pattern 2b:  Noun/Noun Phrase → Plural

QUANTIFIER   QUANTIFIER PHRASE   PREDICATE COMPLEMENT  
DEFINITE GROUP NOUN / QUANTITY PHRASE PLURAL VERB

BOTH OF / SEVERAL OF/ MANY OF / PLENTY OF

Both

Both of the children / kids

are absent. (plural)

FEW OF / MANY OF / SEVERAL OF

A few

A few children / kids

A few of the children / kids

are absent. (plural)

A COUPLE OF / A FEW OF / SEVERAL OF/ MANY OF

A couple

A couple children (informal shortening)

A couple of the children / kids

are absent. (plural)

A NUMBER OF/ A GROUP OF

A number

A number children 

A number of the children / kids

are absent. (plural)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantifiers like Most

Plural / Singular or Plural

 

 

 

Pattern 3a:  Determiner + Noun → Plural

PLURAL QUANTIFIER   NOUN PHRASE   PREDICATE  + COMPLMENT
INDEFINITE GROUP DETERMINER + NOUN PLURAL VERB

MOST   (plural meaning)

Most children / kids

need love.

ALL 

All children / kids 

need love.

SOME  

Some children / kids

need love.

MANY / SEVERAL / FEW

Many children / kids

need love.

* not used

 

 

Pattern 3b:  Noun/Noun Phrase → Singular or Plural  (Agrees with Closest Noun)

QUANTIFIER QUANTIFIER / QUANTIFIER PHRASE CORRESPONDING VERB FORMS  
DEFINITE GROUP NOUN & NOUN PHRASE SINGULAR & PLURAL VERB

ALL OF 

All  (N)

All of the work  ( collective noun)

All of the jobs 

is hard.   (sing.)

 

are hard.   (pl.)

MOST OF

Most  (N)

Most  of the work

Most  of the jobs

is hard.   (sing.)

 

are hard.   (pl.)

MUCH OF / MANY OF

Much  (N)

Much of the work

Many  (N)

Many of the jobs

is hard.   (sing.)

 

are hard.   (pl.)

SOME OF 

Some  (N)

Some of the work 

Some of the jobs 

is / are hard. (sing.)

is hard. (sing.)

are hard. (pl.)

HALF OF  

Half  (N)

Half of the work 

Half of the jobs

is done. (sing.)

 

are done. (pl.)

TEN PERCENT OF

Ten per cent  (N)

Ten percent of the work

Ten percent of the jobs (pl.)

is done. (sing.)

 

are done. (pl.)

**NONE OF / NOT ANY OF

None  (N)

None of the work

None of the jobs  

is done. (sing.)

 

is done. (sing.– formal) / are done. (pl. –common)

A LOT OF¹ / LOTS OF / A MAJORITY OF

lots, bags heaps, loads, oodles, stacks¹ 

A lot of the work 

A lot of the jobs

is hard.   (sing.)

are hard.   (pl.)

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.

 a large amount of—Used with mass or collective nouns: (Garner 43)

¹Noncount quantificational nouns: (Huddleston 5 §3.3)

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)

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

Pop-Q "A couple"  (a dozen), Pop-Q "One of the few"; Pop-Q "Small amount"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

A number of / The number of

"Several" vs an amount

 

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

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. White Plains, New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al. Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English (Biber). Harlow: Pearson Education, 1999. Print.
  • "half." Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.1989. Print.
  • Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum, et al. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston) . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
  • Swan, Michael. "Half." Practical English Usage. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 healthful diet with nutrient rich vegetables and fruit. You can get your nutrition from eating a healthful 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 healthful 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.