Quantifiers Used with Sentence Subjects
Here is a picture of George Clooney, a famous American actor. Which sentence(s) below would correctly describe his hair?
- Some hair is grey.
- Some of his hair is grey.
The correct answer is . Why? To explain, let’s look at each sentence individually.
“Some hair is grey.”
The word some is called a quantifier because it tells you the quantity (how much) of something. Other quantifiers include all, most, many, few, little, and none.
When we talk about something in general, we use the structure quantifier + noun. For example:
- Most people like strawberries.
- Many cities do not have public transportation.
- Some animals can be good pets.
As you can see, these sentences are general. They aren’t talking about a specific group of people, cities, or animals.
However, the above sentence about George Clooney isn’t general. We are talking specifically about the hair on George Clooney’s head. When you talk about a specific group, you use of, like in the below sentence:
“Some of his hair is grey.”
Anytime you talk about a specific group, you need to use of after the quantifier. Also, after ‘of,’ there needs to be a determiner (the/his/her/my, etc). Let’s compare some examples that talk about general and specific groups.
- General: Most people like strawberries.
- Specific: Most of the people I know like strawberries. (determiner = the (also called an article))
- General: Many clothes are made in Asia.
- Specific: Many of my clothes are blue. (determiner = my (also called a possessive adjective))
- General: Some webpages are not suitable for children.
- Specific: Some of this website’s pages are for students. (determiner = this)
- If you are speaking generally, then do not use “of” or a determiner (the/my/his/her, etc). Some people have grey hair.
- If you are speaking about a specific group, then use ‘of’ and a determiner. Some of my teachers have grey hair.
Do you think you understand? Try this quiz!
Quantifiers with Prepositions Quiz
Select the best option for the sentence.
- don’t recycle.
- his teeth are yellow.
- birds can fly.
- classmates listen to hip-hop music.
- people I met on vacation were friendly.
- money the organization collected was given to the people who needed it, unfortunately.
- restaurants serve peanut butter sandwiches.
- Some (general statement)
- Many of (specific statement about him)
- Most (general statement)
- Most of my (specific group of people needs a determiner (‘my’)
- All of the (specific group of people needs a determiner (‘the’)
- Little of the (specific money needs a determine (‘the’)
- Few (general statement)
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- Related Page: Help with quantifiers few, a few, little, and a little