Quantifiers used with countable nouns include a, an, one, each, every, both, a couple of, a few, several, many, a number of, a large number of, and a great number of.

Examples:

  • A rubber duck is floating in the bath.
  • An evil monster like him has no friends.
  • One page is missing from my cookery book.
  • He had a tattoo of a dragon on each arm.
  • Every child received a lollipop.
  • Both donkeys are braying at the same time.
  • A couple of people began to talk louder and louder after the third round of drinks.
  • Someone stole several piglets from his farm.
  • I think he is putting too many eggs in one basket.
  • A number of her friends agreed with her that she looked overweight.
  • Illegal loggers cut down a large number of trees.
  • A great number of locusts swarmed the area.

 

Few and a few

Few and a few come before plural countable nouns. Few (without a) conveys a negative meaning of only a small number or hardly any; a few has a positive meaning of having some but enough.

  • There were a few casualties in the train accident. (= Not many died or injured.)
  • Few passers-by stopped to look at my paintings. (= Almost no passers-by were interested.)