Last updated on September 20th, 2022 at 02:42 pm
A determiner is a word or group of words that come(s) before a noun to make it clear, and show what the noun is referring to. The determiners of quantity (quantifiers) indicate the quantity of nouns. They include much, many, little, few, a little, a few, a lot of, lots of, plenty of, some, any, …
MUCH, LITTLE+ UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
‘Much’ is used to express that there is a large quantity of something, but it is used in negative and interrogative form.
We don’t have much money.
Is there much milk in her tea?
Nkubana doesn’t drink much water.
Did your mother put much salt in your food?
‘Little’ is used to express that there is a small amount of something.
Rebecca has little time for watching television.
Those students have little chance to succeed as they do not study.
We always use little oil while cooking.
‘A little’ means some, or a small amount.
Let’s go and have a coffee. We have a little time before starting our work.
Does she speak Kinyarwanda? ‘A little’
Put a little sand in this hole.
MANY, FEW+ COUNTABLE NOUNS
‘Many’ is used to express that there is a large quantity of something, and is commonly used in negative and interrogative form.
Many people don’t eat meat.
Do you know many people in Kigali?
There aren’t many hunters here.
‘Few’ is used to say that there is a small quantity.
Agnes has few friends here.
Few wild animals are not dangerous.
‘A few’ means some, a small number.
I enjoy my life here. I have a few friends.
A few days ago, we visited our grandfather.
Little vs. a little and few vs. a few
- Kamanzi spoke little Kinyarwanda, so it was difficult to communicate with him.
- Kamanzi spoke a little Kinyarwanda, so we were able to communicate with him.
- Mutoni is lucky. She has few (not many problems)
- Things were not going for him. He had a few problems (some problems)
A LOT OF, LOTS OF, PLENTY OF +COUNTABLE/UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
‘A lot of, lots of, plenty of’’ are used to express that there is a large quantity of something. They are commonly used in affirmative sentences.
They have a lot of time to answer your questions.
Agnes saw a lot of people waiting for you.
The ministers still have lots of time to listen to the people.
Lots of questions were answered by the learners.
The father saved plenty of money.
You will give them plenty of exercises to do in the weekend.
SOME VS. ANY
In general, ‘some’ is used in positive sentences while ‘any’ is used in negative sentences.
In most questions we use ‘any’.
We bought some flowers. → We didn’t buy any flowers.
He does some work. → He doesn’t do any work.
I want something to eat. → I don’t want anything to eat.
Both can be used in interrogative sentences. But, ‘some’ is used when we know that the thing exists and when we don’t know we use ‘any’.
Can we have some sugar, please? (there is sugar)
Would you like something to eat? (there is something to eat)
Does he leave there any luggage? ‘No, he doesn’t’
Did the eagle eat any chicken? ‘Perhaps it didn’t.’
Other quantifiers include enough, several, numerous, most, most of, each, a number of, none of…