Quantifiers: Much, Many, Little, Few, Plenty, a Lot, a Bit
Hello English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will talk about the difference and use of the quantifiers much, many, little, few, plenty, a lot, a bit.
Much, many, a lot of (lots of)
Both much and many mean a large quantity of something. We use much with uncountable and many with countable nouns.
- much icecream, much time, much money, much energy
- many people, many countries, many species
We normally use much in negative sentences and questions. For positive sentences, we use a lot of (lots of).
- Sandra couldn’t eat much food.
- Do they charge much money for the rent?
- There is a lot of noise in the classroom.
However, we can use too much, so much, as much in positive sentences.
- The waiter charged me too much money.
- You’ll get fat if you eat so much pasta.
- Take as much time as you like.
We can use many in positive, negative and interrogative questions, as well as a lot of (lots of).
- There are many mountains in the country. ( lots of mountains)
- Mark didn’t know many words in Italian. ( a lot of words)
- Are there many students in your class? (a lot of students)
Plenty means more than enough. It can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.
- There is no need to hurry. We have plenty of time.
- There were plenty of people at the party.
- Why did you buy more milk? We have plenty.
A lot of (lots of)
We use a lot of (lots of) with both countable and uncountable nouns.
- There was a lot of mud on his trainers.
- Lots of people decide to buy electric cars nowadays.
Use the form a lot or lots at the end of a sentence or a clause.
- When her pet dog died, Lucy cried a lot.
- Have some more food, there is lots left.
(A) little and (a) few
A little refers to a small amount of something and it is used with uncountable nouns.
- We have a little time, let’s go for a walk.
- Jay could speak a little Chinese.
- She seasoned the salad with a little oil.
A few means a small amount of something. It goes with countable nouns.
- Chris stood there for a few moments.
- Phoebe put a few clothes into her suitcase.
- I’m trying to save a few pounds each day.
A bit (of)
We can use a bit in the same way as a little.
- I’ve left you a bit of food in the fridge. (a little of food)
- It’s a bit warmer today (a little warmer)
You will often hear the phrase a little bit, especially in spoken English.
- A little bit of exercise can do wonders for your health.
- Can you turn the volume down a little bit?
Few and little
Don’t mistake the quantifiers few and little with a few and a little. While a few and a little refer to small amounts of something, few and little have a negative connotation. They mean not enough.
- Sara was sad because she had few friends (not enough)
- There are few eggs and little butter in the fridge. You should buy some. (there are almost no eggs and butter)
- I’m sorry but I speak very little Spanish. Can we speak in English?
Do the quiz to perfect your knowledge