Graded quantifiers

Graded quantifiers allow us to compare the quantity of one thing with the quantity of another, without specifying an exact quantity for either element. Graded quantifiers preceed nouns. Different quantifiers are needed for countable and uncountable nouns. Sometimes the noun can be omitted when it is understood from the context.

They are distinct from comparatives and superlatives, which compare the degrees of a quality (adjectives) or the degree of the manner something was done (adverbs). Graded quantifiers, like comparatives and superlatives, hold a relative position on a scale of increase or decrease. The superlative grade is always preceeded by the in a sentence.

quantifier comparative grade superlative grade
With plural countable nouns
many more most
few fewer fewest
With uncountable nouns
much more most
little less least
  • There are many people in England, more people in India, but the most people live in China.
  • Much time and money is spent on education, more on health services but the most is spent on national defence.
  • Few rivers in Europe are not polluted.
  • Fewer people die young now than in the seventeenth century.
  • The country with the fewest people per square kilometre must be Australia.
  • Scientists have little hope of finding a complete cure for cancer before the year 2020.
  • She had less time to study than Paul but had better results.
  • Give that dog the least opportunity and it will bite you.