Explanations » B1 Grammar Explanations » Much, many, a lot, little, few, some, any, no – quantifiers
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Much, many, little, few, some, any, no – Grammar chart

Visual grammar chart for B1 level English categorizing quantifiers for countable and uncountable nouns, distinguishing between large and small quantities, and specifying usage in sentences

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Many/much

Many for countable, much for uncountable in (?) and (-)

We use many before plural (countable) nouns and much before uncountable nouns. We use them in negative sentences and questions. We don’t often use them in affirmative sentences.

  • There isn’t much coffee in the jar.
  • Were there many people in the party?

Too much/too many, so much/so many

Note that much/many are more common in negatives and questions than in affirmative sentences. However, we use too much and too many or so much and so many in affirmative sentences.

  • There’s too much salt in the soup.
  • You eat too many biscuits.
  • There were so many people that we had to leave.
  • He ate so much cake that it made him sick. 

How much/how many

We use how many and how much to ask about quantity.

  • How many concerts have you ever been to?
  • How much coffee have you had today?

A lot of/lots of/plenty of

Before both countable and uncountable

We use a lot of, lots of (more informal), or plenty of before both plural (countable) and uncountable nouns. We normally use them in positive sentences.

  • She spends a lot of time watching TV.
  • We had lots of good moments together.
  • We’ve got plenty of time

Of before noun; no of at the end of a sentence

We must always use a lot of or lots of including of at the end. However, we can use the expressions a lot or lots (without of) at the end of a sentence.

  • ‘How many beers did you have?’ ‘I don’t know; I had lots/a lot.’
  • I like her a lot.
  • I don’t want any more cake, thanks. I’ve had plenty

(A) few/(a) little/a bit of

Few for countable; little for uncountable

We use (a) few before plural (countable) nouns and (a) little or a bit of (more informal) before uncountable nouns in affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences.

  • I have to do a few things this afternoon.
  • He always gets good results with very little effort.
  • Can you put a bit of sugar in the tea?

Few or a few? Little or a little?

A few means ‘some but not many; enough’, and a little means ‘some but not much; enough’ .

Few means ‘almost none; not enough’.

Normally, the difference between a few/little (WITH a) and few/little (WITHOUT a) is that a few/little is positive in meaning, and few/little is negative. Compare:

  • There’s little milk in the fridge; we have to buy more. (=Not enough; we need more)
  • ‘Shall I buy some beers?’ ‘No, it’s OK, there are a few in the fridge.’ (=Enough; we don’t need more)
  • ‘Do you speak English?’ ‘No, I speak very little English.’ (=Negative)
  • ‘Do you speak English?’ ‘Yes, I speak a little English.’ (=Positive)

Some/any/no

Some in (+) and any in (?) and (-)

We use some in affirmative sentences and any in negative sentences and questions.

  • There isn’t any sugar in the cupboard.
  • Have you got any new friends?
  • I have some questions to ask you.

No in (+)

We use no in affirmative sentences.

  • There are no biscuits left. 
  • I have no questions to ask.

With both countable (plural) and uncountable

Some, any and no can be used before countable and uncountable nouns. But if we use them before a countable noun, the noun must be plural.

  • Is there any student in the classroom? blank
  • Are there any students in the classroom? blank
  • There are no students in the classroom. 

Some for offers and requests

We use some (NOT any) in interrogative sentences when we are offering or requesting (=asking for) something.

  • Would you like some help?
  • Can I have some tea, please?

None

None is a pronoun. It means ‘zero’. We use it in affirmative sentences as a pronoun to replace countable and uncountable nouns. This means that it’s not followed by a noun.

  • There were three bottles before we left, and now there is none.
  • ‘How much cake did you have?’ ‘None.’

None of

We can also use none of + noun (countable or uncountable).

  • None of the questions were answered.