Quantitative pronouns in English



There are two kinds of numerals: cardinals (one, two, three etc.) and ordinals (first, second, third etc.).


a. Both kinds of numeral function as pronouns and as pre-modifiers:
I like one of your books.
I need five shelves.


Hundred, thousand, million are preceded either by the indefinite article a or by the numeral one
When I was a child, I wanted to have a/one hundred dogs.


If ordinals are used pronominally, they are preceded by an article:
We are going to leave on the third of June.


Nought mainly occurs as the name of the numeral. It is subsititued by 'none' to denote a pronoun and by 'no' as a determiner.


One is used in the following situations:

As a numerical one before animate and inanimate countable nouns in the function either of pronouns or of determiners:
I bought one of the pencils.
I met one girl.
'One' may mean 'certain' before personal proper names. This may sound either slightly formal or old-fashioned.
I used to know one Tom Smith.

b) As a replacive for a singular (one) or plural (ones) countable noun:
Which of the two cakes would you like to take? The bigger one.
I thought you generally preferred smaller ones.

Some, any

1) Some

Some precedes singular uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns. It is used the following situations:
a) In affirmative sentences:
— to imply a contrast between people or things:
I know that some people admire him (i.e. 'that others do not').
— to show lack of interest in a person:
When we were amusing ourselves, some man knocked at the door.
— to indicate admiration for a mental or physical quality:
Tom, who is only twelve, is already interested in philosophy. Surely, he must be some boy.
— to express a short response:
Have you any books on linguistics? Some.

b. In conditional sentences if the speaker expects the condition to be fullfilled:
If you have some money, we'll go to the cinema.

In interrogative sentences when either the positive answer is epexted:
Have you talked to some friends of yours?
Oh, yes, I have.
or the polite offer/invitation is expressed: Would you like some coffee?

In imperative sentences:
Give me some cakes.


Any precedes singular uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns. It is used in the following situations:
a. In affirmative sentences when a negative idea can be detected:
Tom is going to buy any car. (it makes no difference to him what kind of car it is)
b. In negative sentences:
I'm sorry, but I don't have any coffee.
I have hardly any money on me.
I have barely any money on me.
I have scarcely any money on me.
or when a negative element is contained in a preposition:
I will do it without any haste.
c. In conditional clauses:
If you have any money on you, we could go to the cinema.
d. In sentences expressing wonder or doubt:
I doubt whether there is any coffee left
e. In interrogative sentences:
Have you any brothers?
In short answers to the questions of the type:
Which coffee would you like to drink? Oh, any.

No, none


No may only fuction as a determiner. It is used with affirmative verbs to denote a negative:
I have no colleagues.
I have no grapes.


Nobody, no one and nothing are compound pronouns that occur with affirmative verbs to express a negative:
Nobody wants to visit this country
No one passed the driving test.
Nothing can be changed here.


None may only function as a pronoun. It is used with affirmative verbs to denote a negative:
None of the students failed the exam.
Have you any apples? No, I have none.

The form of the verb

The verb with no and none may be either singular or plural:
There is no apple on the table.
There are no apples on the table.
None of the students is keen on studying linguistics
None of the students are keen on studying linguistics.
The form none of the students is preferred by careful speakers.

The meaning of no construction

There is a difference in meaning between:
a) Any student can solve this problem.
b) No student can solve this problem.
a) means that there is not any student who cannot solve this problem, where
b) denotes that there is not any student who can solve this problem.

Many, much


a) Many occurs before countable nouns, whereas much occurs before uncountable nouns:
many books
much water.
b) Many and much are used in negative and interrogative sentences:
I haven't seen many people there.
How much money can you spend on your new house?
c) Many and much are used in affirmative sentences only in formal English:
We must face much work to do before we finish the report.
We must face many difficulties to overcome before we finish the report.
Otherwise, in affirmative sentences many and much are replaced by plenty of, a lot of, a great deal of etc:
I have visited a lot of places
He is going to spend a great deal of money on his next holidays


a. In formal English, many may be used predicatively:
Her mistakes were many.
b) Many may also function as a predeterminer of singular countable nouns preceded by a/an:
Many a person wouldn't agree with that (i.e. 'many persons')


In exceptional cases, 'much' occurs before singular countable nouns:
There is not much point in listening to his speech.
Mr King is not much of a king.

Few, little


a) Few is used before plural countable nouns, whereas little before singular uncountable nouns: few people
little water
b) Few and little are used in affirmative sentences if they are modified by too, very, etc.:
We have too few books in our library.
Tom has very little time.
Otherwise, both few and little are replaced by many and much and are preceded by negative verbs:
e.g. instead of: I have few friends. we say:
I haven't many friends.
instead of:
I have little milk.
we say:
I haven't much milk.

c) Negative sense

Since few and little have a negative sense when they are not preceded by the indefinite article, some, something, etc. must be changed to any, anything, etc., when they occur with few and little:
As Mary has few friends, she doesn't have to buy any gifts.

Several, enough

Several, rarely preceded by a determiner occurs with plural countable nouns:
Mr Brown has several CDs with rock music.
a. Enough is used with plural countable and singular uncoutable nouns:
There are enough pens
There is enough food for today.
b. Enough usually precedes nouns, but it may occasionally follow them, which sounds to many speakers of English as archaic or dialectal:
There is coffee enough for you.