Adjective of Quantity

Understanding the Uses of Quantity Adjectives

Adjectives of quantity show how much of a thing is meant; as — some, little, enough, no, much.

These adjective words answer the question “How much of it?” Observe the following sentences.

  1. He gave me some money.
  2. There is no sugar in the tea.
  3. He has put a little milk in the cup.
  4. He has already wasted much time.
  5. There is enough food in the kitchen.

In the sentences 1 – 5 above, the adjectives some, no, little, much, and enough are adjectives of quantity or amount since they denote quantity of the nouns they precede—money, sugar, milk, time and food respectively.

Rules Governing Adjectives of Quantity

1.  Some is used in affirmative sentences to express quantity or degree.

    For example:
  • I shall buy some bananas.

2.  Any is used in the negative or interrogative sentences to express quantity or degree.

    For example:
  • I shall not buy any bananas.
  • Have you bought any bananas?

However, some is an exception to the above rule. Some is used in interrogative sentences, which are commands or requests.

    For example:
  • Will you please lend me some money?

Few vs Little

3.  Few is used for countable objects and little is used for non-countable objects.

4.  Little means not much. So use of the word little has a negative meaning.

    For example:
  • There is little hope of his recovery.
  • He has little appreciation of hard work.

5.  A little means some though not much. Therefore, use of a little has a positive meaning.

    For example:
  • There is a little hope of his recovery.
  • He has a little appreciation of hard work.

6.  The little means not much but all there is.

    For example:
  • The little information he had was quite reliable.
  • The little knowledge of management he possessed was not sufficient to stand him in good stead.

7.  Few means not many. Therefore, use of the word few has a negative meaning.

    For example:
  • Few men are free from faults.

8.  A few means some. So, use of word a few has a positive meaning.

    For example:
  • A few men are free from faults.

9.  The few mean not many, but all there are.

    For example:
  • The few remarks that he made were very good.
Important Hint!  

Note that only uncountable nounsOpens in new window follow much, little, some, enough, sufficient and whole.

    For example:
  • I ate some rice.
  • There are not enough spoons.