Quantity Words

Words which are denoting the quantity of the nouns are called Quantity-Words.

English has different adjectives to describe countable words and uncountable words.

Examples of countable nouns are:

Boys, men, elephants, questions, tables, shirts, computers etc…

Examples of Uncountable nouns:

Water, fire, rain, dress, sugar, sky, thirsty etc…

Different set of words should be used as adjectives in respect of countable nouns and uncountable nouns.

Countable nouns: Fewer, number of, , many etc…

Uncountable nouns: Less, amount, quantity, much, more etc…

Using the adjective ‘fewer’, ‘number of’ and ‘many’ for noun-countable nouns is wrong.

Similarly, using the adjectives ‘ less’, ‘amount’, ‘quantity’ and ‘much’ in respect of countable nouns is also wrong.

Example-1:

• Less boys than girls passed the test.

Here the adjective ‘less’ has been used for the countable noun ‘boys’. This usage is wrong one.

The correct sentence is:

• Fewer boys than girls passed the test.

Example-2:

• I like fewer sugar in coffee than in tea.

Here, the adjective ‘fewer’ has been used for the uncountable noun ‘sugar’. This usage is wrong one.

The correct sentence is:

• I like less sugar in coffee than in tea.

Example-3:

• The number of delegates who attended the conference exceeded the estimate.

Here also, the wrong adjective has been used for the countable noun ‘delegates’ in place of the adjective ‘number’

The correct sentence is:

• The amount of delegates who attended the conference exceeded the estimate.

These are perfect examples for the usages of Quantity-Words.

Example-4:

• The book sold 10,000 copies in hard cover, and almost thrice as much in paper-pack.

Here also the adjective ‘much’ has been used for the countable noun ‘books’ in place of the adjective ‘many’.

So the correct sentence is:

• The book sold 10,000 copies in hard cover, and almost thrice as many in paper-pack.



Example-5:

• The army had twenty less divisions two years ago that It has now.

Here also, the adjective ‘less’ has been used for the countable noun ‘divisions’ in place of the adjective ‘fewer’.

The correct sentence is:

• The army had twenty fewer divisions two years ago that It has now.

These are perfect examples for the usages of Quantity-Words.

Examples:

• Much of the words spoken by the speaker could not be heard because of the din.
• Many of the words spoken by the speaker could not be heard because of the din.

• I have less pants than shirts.
• I have fewer pants than shirts.

Use of ‘between’ and ‘among’:

The preposition ‘between’ and ‘among’ can not be substituted for each other.

The preposition ‘between’ should be used only when there are two items referred to.

When there are more than two items, the correct preposition to be used is ‘among’.

Examples:

• Among Clinton and George, it is George who is older. (Incorrect)
• Between Clinton and George, it is George who is older. (Correct)

• Between the three girls, Anne is the tallest. (Incorrect)
• Among the three girls, Anne is the tallest. (Correct)

• Between Asia, Africa and America, Asia has the largest area. (Incorrect)
• Among Asia, Africa and America, Asia has the largest area. (Correct)

• Among, the Indian and Korean, the former is usually taller than the latter. (Incorrect)
• Between, the Indian and Korean, the former is usually taller than the latter. (Correct)

These are perfect examples for the usages of Quantity-Words.

Use of ‘each other’ and ‘one another’:

Similarly ‘each other’ must be used while referring to only two persons.

When there are more than two persons, the correct phrase to be used is ‘one another’.

Examples:

• The two brothers are so different that they have nothing in common with one another. (Incorrect)
• The two brothers are so different that they have nothing in common with each other. (Correct)

• Ten of us study together for the test, and we help each other with the lessons. (Incorrect)
• Ten of us study together for the test, and we help one another with the lessons. (Correct)

These are perfect examples for the usages of Quantity-Words.

Comparative and Superlative degrees:

English are different forms of comparisons when two nouns are compared and when more than two nouns are compared.

Example-1:

• Between Clinton and George, the former is the tallest.

Here only two nouns are compared so only the Comparative Degree of Comparison should be used in place of Superlative Degree of Comparison.

The correct sentence is:

• Between Clinton and George, the former is taller.

While using the superlative degree of comparison, you should always use ‘the’ before it.

These are perfect examples for the usages of Quantity-Words.

Examples:

• Copal is tallest student in the class. (Incorrect)
• Copal is the tallest student in the class. (Correct)

• She is most loyal among all the staff in the company. (Incorrect)
• She is the most loyal among all the staff in the company (Correct)

These examples might have revealed the secrets of using the right Quantity-words in your sentences.

Go to the Advanced English Index to continue.



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