DO YOU MAKE THESE QUANTIFIER MISTAKES?
Level: Intermediate Reading Time: 6 minutes Category: Vocabulary
As you already know, quantifiers are really useful in English
Native speakers use them all the time to describe the amount of a noun.
However, many English learners use them in strange ways because they don’t fully understand how to use them correctly.
If you don’t know how to use these words, you are going to make mistakes and that can mean that people get confused.
Check out these common mistakes with quantifiers here and make sure you don’t make them in the future!
MUCH AND MANY MISTAKES.
This is by far the most common mistake I hear from my students.
[bctt tweet=”In English, you shouldn’t use much and many without the word not. Seriously, stop doing this. It sounds weird!” username=”dansensei_”]
You shouldn’t say things like:
- I have much money in my wallet.
- She has many friends.
- He has many books.
Although we use much and many with large quantities, we usually use them with the word not to talk about a lack of a large amount of something. Check out these examples:
- I don’t have much free time at the moment.
- He doesn’t eat much fruit
- She didn’t have many opportunities to speak Japanese in the UK.
In some very formal, written situations, people will use much and many in affirmative sentences. This is really unnatural in daily spoken English. You will see it in the news sometimes though.
It is important to remember that you can still use much and many in questions without the word not. Here are some examples:
- Do you have much money?
- Does he have many books at home?
- Have you eaten many Japanese foods?
KEY POINT: Only use much and many with the word not!
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Few Vs A Few Differences.
Although these look the same, they are not.
[bctt tweet=”Few and A Few are not the same in English. They have a nuance difference that many English learners don’t know!” username=”dansensei_”]
Because people don’t know the differences, they can often use them incorrectly. This can easily confuse people. Look at these examples.
He has few friends at school.
This means that he has basically zero friends at school. Few means almost zero and is emphasising the fact there is basically nothing. However…
He has a few friends at school.
This has a slightly different meaning. This means he has some friends at school, but it is not a large quantity. It is a small amount, but it exists.
The same thing is true for little and a little. Little means basically zero and a little means a small amount.
I saved a little money last year.
I saved a small amount of money last year, but it is not much. However…
I saved little money last year.
I saved basically zero money last year and I am going to be poor forever.
KEY POINT: Few and A Few are not the same so be sure to choose the correct one.
A Lot Of is the Most Useful Quantifier.
Seriously, why are’t you using this quantifier all the time!
[bctt tweet=”A lot of is by far the most useful quantifier in English. You could just use this one phrase and not worry about any other quantifiers in this lesson!” username=”dansensei_”]
With other quantifiers, you need to think about if the noun is countable or not and you need to worry about if the sentence is affirmative or not. All of this doesn’t matter when you use a lot of.
You can use a lot of with:
- countable nouns
- uncountable nouns
- affirmative sentences
- negative sentences
Here are some examples:
- She ate a lot of pasta.
- We didn’t have a lot of time.
- Do you watch a lot of movies?
- I have a lot of comic books on my shelf.
- I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day.
KEY POINT: YOu can use a lot of in almost ANY situatioN.
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