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Fuster-Saura oposingles@hotmail.com Unit 13

UNIT 13 THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY

OUTLINE

0. INTRODUCTION

1. THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY

2. THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY BY MEANS OF NUMBER

2.1. Nouns

2.1.1. Singular vs. plural

2.1.2. Count vs. noncount

2.2. Numerals

2.3. Pronouns

2.3.1. Universal pronouns

2.3.2. Partitive pronouns

2.3.3. Quantifying pronouns

3. REGARDING DETERMINERS

3.1. Predeterminers

3.2. Central determiners

3.3. Postdeterminers

4. REGARDING PARTITIVE CONSTRUCTIONS

5. REGARDING OTHER MEANS

6. CONCLUSION

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

0. INTRODUCTION

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In English, number is a feature of nouns, demonstratives, personal pronouns and verbs. Nouns have singular or plural number and verbs in the 3 rd person vary for singular and plural agreement with the subject noun. The nouns which, according to the main rule, are singular are singular count nouns (a boy, a table), mass nouns (advertising, our music, the butter) or proper nouns (John, Cairo, the Thames). The only nouns which normally occur in the plural are plural count nouns, i.e. nouns denoting ‘more than one’: two boys, the tables, these ideas… This unit, thus, aims to provide an insightful analysis of the expression of quantity in English, since this is an important and chief aspect in the mastery of a foreign language. All of this will be done under the perspective of some of the most important grammarians in the field, namely, Greenbaum, Leech, Quirk and Starvick, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), Leech and Starvick, A Communicative Grammar of English (1986), Swan, Practical English Usage (1995); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002) and Thomson and Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986).

1. THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY

In general, the notion of quantity refers to the ‘number’ or ‘the amount of’ items we are

dealing with, and it is the answer to questions such as How much

ask for similar information, except for a specific difference about the ‘exact amount of’, which can be definite (two, four), indefinite (some, any), or drawn from other means. Answers are directly drawn from different sources, such as nouns (one book, two books), pronouns (nobody, everybody, somebody), determiners (a, the, my, some, every, each), or verbs (shout vs scream), and also from other grammatical structures such as partitive constructions (a glass of milk ) or idioms (She is as cold as a cucumber). These expressions play their role in a linguistic description in terms of function, within a larger linguistic structure (subject, object, determiner, and so on), and word-class (noun, adjective, verb, and so on) when we view them as something that has individual characteristics. Both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes since we must examine the expression of quantity through them. These expressions can be grouped together into word classes following morphological and syntactic rules. Moreover, they share a number of properties, for instance, on

They both

?

and How many

?

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morphological grounds (typical endings for nouns, such as –s and ‘s) or on the syntactic ground (indefinite pronouns functioning as determiners: any of you). The notion of quantity can be expressed by the different linguistic levels: phonology, morphology, syntax, lexis and semantics. Phonology deals with pronunciation of singular and plural forms (bus, buses); morphology deals with plural markers (–s, -es); syntax with the establishment of rules that specify which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings (determiner + noun); lexis deals with the expression of amount by means of idioms (stubborn as a mule ), verb choices (rain vs. pour), adverbial expressions (speaking loud), or partitive constructions (a piece of furniture); and finally, semantics deals with meaning where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (‘You are here’ – you, 2nd person singular or you, 2nd person plural).

2. THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY BY MEANS OF NUMBER

In order to describe quantity in terms of number, we must relate this notion to the general term ‘noun’, which denotes the class to which the categories of number, gender and case have their primary application in languages. Here, we will deal with the expression of number, first, regarding nouns, second, numerals and, finally, pronouns.

2.1. Nouns

2.1.1. Singular vs. plural

The contrast singular vs. plural is drawn from the category of number which operates through subject-verb concord and pronominal reference, where every noun form is understood grammatically as either singular or plural. Singular, then, relates to the quantity one for count nouns, whereas plural relates to the quantity more than one for count nouns. Within the term plural, different types are included. We can distinguish between variable vs. invariable plurals. In turn, each of these is subdivided into different types:

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-Non-count nouns: concrete (gold, furniture) -Non-count nouns: abstract (music, homework) -Proper nouns (The Alps, the Thames) -Some nouns ending in –s (news, billiards) -Abstract adjectival heads (the bad, the mean)

Singular invariable

Plural invariable

-Summation plurals (trousers, scissors) -Pluralia tantum in –s (thanks, outskirts) -Plural proper nouns (the Netherlands) -Unmarked plural nouns (cattle, sheep ) -Personal adjectival heads (the young, the rich)

INVARIABLE

PLURALS

VARIABLE

Regular plurals

Plurals in –s or –es (boy-boys; fly- flies)

Irregular plurals

Voicing (knife -knives; thief-thieves) Mutation (man-men; goose-geese) -en plural (brother-brethren) zero plural (fish-fish) foreign plurals (analysis-analyses)

Within variable plurals, we distinguish first, regular plurals (adding –s/-es) and irregular

plurals (voicing, mutation, -en plural, zero plural and foreign plurals). Second, within invariable

plurals, we also distinguish, on the one hand, singular invariables (concrete vs. abstract noncount

nouns, proper nouns, some nouns ending in –s (news), and abstract adjectival heads), and, on the

other hand, plural invariables (summation plurals, pluralia tantum in –s, some plural proper nouns,

unmarked plural nouns, and personal adjectival heads: the rich). Finally, in addition to singular

and plural number, we may distinguish dual number in the case of both, either, and neither, since

they can only be used with reference to two.

Focusing on VARIABLE PLURALS, we shall distinguish between regular and irregular

plural formation. Since the vast majority of English nouns are count, they take plural formation in a

regular and predictable way in sound and spelling.

Regarding sound, the plural of a noun is usually made by adding –s to the singular, which is

the unmarked form, and is regularly realized in three ways at the phonological level: first, /s/ after

bases ending in voiceless sounds except sibilants (books, roofs, lips, hats); second, /z/ after bases

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ending in voiced sounds except sibilants (trees, bars, days, beds, dogs, pens); and third, /iz/ after bases ending in a sibilant (horses /s/, noises /z/, brushes, mirages, churches, and bridges). Regarding spelling, for the most part, plurals are formed by simply adding –s to the singular (cat-cats, girl-girls). Other regular plurals add –es in nouns ending in –z, -s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x and –o (waltzes, gases, dresses, wishes, matches, boxes and tomatoes). However, at the sound level, all of them get an extra syllable /iz/ when pronounced, except for those words ending in -o (echoes, potatoes), which are realized as /schwa+s/. Moreover, note that words or foreign origin or abbreviated words ending in –o add –s only (dynamo-dynamos, kilo -kilos, photo-photos, soprano- sopranos). The spelling –(e)s is also found in the following two cases, where the spelling of the base is affected: first, in words ending in a consonant symbol + -y, where y changes into i (body- bodies, country-countries). Note that there is a change in the words ending in –f, where the f of the base is changed into v (calf -calves, knife-knives, leaf-leaves). Yet, there are some exceptions to the general pluralization rule which may present some irregularities. Thus, first, (1) voicing, which is a change in the base, from voiceless to voiced consonant, when a the regular suffix –s/-es is added (bath-baths, house -houses). Note that this may be reflected in spelling (knife-knives) or not (mouth-mouths). Secondly, (2) mutation, when a few nouns undergo a change of vowel sound and spelling (‘mutation plurals’) without an ending (foot- feet, louse-lice, tooth -teeth, goose-geese, man-men). Thirdly, (3) –en plural, pronounced with schwa, involves both vowel change and an irregular ending, as for instance, child children, ox - oxen, and brother-brethren, when used in the sense of ‘fellow members’. Fourth (4), zero plurals, which on being unquestionable count, have no difference in form between singular and plural, when referring to animals in general (sheep, cattle), and in particular, to those viewed as prey (They hunted two reindeer/woodcock and caught two trout/salmon ). Note the difference here between, on the one hand invariable nouns, which are either singular (The music is so trendy) or plural (All the cattle are in the field ), and, on the other hand, zero plural nouns, which can be both singular and plural (This sheep is small/all those sheeps are small). Finally, (5) foreign plurals within regular type formation are those used in technical usage, whereas the –s plural, which is an English regular form is more natural in everyday language (Compare formulas (general) and formulae (in mathematics). Numerous nouns adopted from foreign languages, especially Latin and Greek, still retain the foreign inflection for plural (stimulus-stimuli; corpus-corpora; criterion –criteria). Secondly, regarding INVARIABLE PLURALS, we may distinguish invariable singular vs invariable plural nouns which are resistant to number contrast, since there are singular nouns that cannot ordinarily be plural (meat, sugar), and plural nouns that cannot ordinarily be singular (binoculars, sunglasses).

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Within singular invariables, which take a singular verb, we distinguish five main types: (1) concrete noncount nouns (cheese, gold, furniture); (2) abstract noncount nouns (homework, music, injustice); (3) some proper nouns (Shakespeares, her Mondays, Christmases); (4) nouns ending in – s are particular words, (news), some diseases (German measles, mumps, rickets), names in –ics (Physics, classics, phonetics), some games (bowls, dominoes, fives), and finally, (5) some proper nouns (Brussels, Athens, Wales) or collective nouns (The States, committee, government, team). Within plural invariables, we shall distinguish five main types as well. Thus, (1) summation plurals (or binary nouns), which refer to entities which comprise or are perceived as comprising two parts such as tools, instruments, or articles of dress (scissors, forceps; tweezers, scales; shorts, tights). Countability is usually achieved through quantity partition, thus ‘a pair of’, ‘several pairs of’; (2) pluralia tantum in –s are nouns that only occur in the plural and refer to entities which comprise or are perceived as comprising an indefinite number of parts (communications=means of communication, and similarly, The Middle Ages(=Medieval Times), arms (=weapons), customs (=customs duty), goods (=a goods train), the Lords (=The House of Lords), spirits (=mood). Note that with some items there is vacillation between singular and plural since when they have no –s, there is a difference in meaning (brain-brains, cloth -clothes, a troup of scouts-troops, manner- manners). (3) Some proper nouns are pluralized when a title applies to more than one succeeding name, as in ‘the two Miss Smiths’, ‘the Kennedys’, and ‘the two Germanys’, especially in British English commercial use meaning ‘the firm of’ (the Smiths). Moreover, (4) we also find unmarked plural nouns which are not plural in form and emerge from some pluralia tantum, thus The data is/are useful, and similarly cattle, clergy, offspring, people, police… And finally, (5) some personal adjectival heads of human nature, such as the rich, the young. Remember that compound nouns form the plural in different ways, thus adding plural in the first element (passer-by, passers-by); in both first and last element (manservant, menservants), and the last and most usual way, adding plural in the last element (boyfriend, boyfriends; grownup, grown-ups). Also, initials can be made plural (MPs=Members of Parliament, VIPs=very important persons).

2.1.2. Count vs. noncount

Nouns also reflect the category of number with the contrast between count vs. noncount nouns. Thus, the term count refers to an ‘individual interpretation of an item’ from a larger set of discrete units that could be counted (table, building, tree, car, book, computer, disk), whereas noncount refers to an ‘undelimited’ interpretation of a substance (liquid or solid) rather than a unit (sand, soap, jam, paper, water, air).

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Countable nouns are easily detected because of plural forms, and uncountable nouns are reflected in general abstract terms such as names of substances (bread, beer, coffee); abstract nouns (advice, experience, fear, relief); other nouns countable in other languages (baggage, camping, damage, furniture, shopping). Uncountable nouns are always singular and are not used with indefinite articles, but often preceded by quantifiers like some, any, no, a little (I don’t want (any) advice; I want (some) information). Hence, a plural triggers a count interpretation, the same as numerals, quantifiers (many, few, several, much, little), and definite or indefinite articles. Common countable nouns can be preceded by numerals, quantifiers (except for much, little), and definite/indefinite articles whereas common noncount nouns can only be followed by the quantifiers much and little and the definite article. Consider the following examples:

They heard strange noises last night’ vs. ‘Don’t make much noise’.

With singular nouns, the determiners one, a, another, each, every, either, neither force a count interpretation, whereas enough, much, most, little and unstressed some or any induce a noncount interpretation. A singular common noun without any determiner will normally take a noncount interpretation (He drinks whisky). Also, the majority of nouns can be used with either kind of interpretation when using partitive constructions (a piece of, an item of, a bottle of, a loaf of).

2.2. Numerals

The expression of quantity by means of numerals is given by three sets: cardinal numbers (one, two, three…), ordinal numbers (first, second…), and fractions. Cardinal and ordinal can function as pronouns or as determiners, except for nought / zero. This figure is called ‘nought’, oh, zero, and nill. We say ‘nought’ when it occurs as the name of the numeral, being replaced by the determiner no or the pronoun none in general use. We use ‘oh’ to say numbers and figures at the same time, and when saying figures separately, as in telephone numbers, post codes, address numbers. Then, figures are pronounced in groups of three or four. When used to refer to temperature, ‘zero’ is used, for both British and American English (It is zero degrees Celsius today), and we say ‘nil’ when talking about games (They won four-nill). Ordinals are normally preceded by an article, usually the definite article (Today is the eleventh). Ordinals are used when talking about fractions and decimals (1/6=one sixth; 2/5=two fifths) or when expressing order or priority (He was the first one to cross). Finally, the notion of quantity is also conveyed by singular and plural measurements in fractions and decimals with the

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structure ‘of a + singular noun’ (two sixths of a centimetre) or ‘decimals’+ plural noun (2,8 millimetres=two point eight millimetres).

2.3. Pronouns

For our purpose, we shall concentrate on indefinite pronouns, which include: universal, partitive, and quantifying pronouns. (See appendix 1).

2.3.1. Universal pronouns

In order to examine universal pronouns, we must consider first the universal compound indefinites (everyone, everybody, everything; no one, nobody, nothing), where the suffixes –one and –body are used for people, whereas the ending –thing is for objects, and –where for places. The universal pronouns and determiners comprise each, all, every, and the every compounds. Despite their singular form, the compounds have collective reference, and along with every they entail reference to a number of three of (usually) more. Each entails reference to two or more, and has individual reference. Thus:

There were two boys who called and I gave an apple to each / *everybody. There were seven boys who called and I gave an apple to each / everybody.

Indefinite personal pronouns functioning as pronouns take singular verbs, despite their entailment of plural meaning, (Everybody was out; no one wanted to come), thus, ‘every- compounds’ and each are used with personal count nouns in singular, and everything and each with unipersonal count nouns. In plural, both personal and non-personal count nouns refer to all/both and all is used for both singular and plural nouns. Among their main grammatical features, every and its compounds take a singular form. Also, since universal pronouns denote people, they can take genitive suffixes as in everybody’s car. Regarding each, it may appear alone as a pronoun, but it is common to find the expression each one. Both and all are used for count nouns in plural. All is also used for nouncount nouns and both refers to dual number. They may appear medially with plural reference (They both/all are quite intelligent), referring to two people. In very formal style, all is used to mean everybody (All those who speak Italian), and is also used in negative constructions (Not all the people speak Italian here).

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COUNT

NON-COUNT

UNIVERSAL PRONOUNS

Personal

Non-personal

   

Everyone

Everything

 

Singular

Pronoun

Everybody

Everywhere

Each

Each

all

Plural

Pronoun

All / both

2.3.2. Partitive pronouns

Parallel to the universal pronouns, we have three sets of partitive pronouns with associated determiners (every, all, both, a(n), some, any, either, neither, none, no): assertive partitive indefinites, non-assertive partitive indefinites, and negative partitive indefinites. Some is used for plural count and noncount nouns, both personal and non-personal (You need some lawyers/water). When some is used to talk about an uncertain or indefinite quantity (Would you like some sugar?), it is pronounced with the weak form. Yet, although some is used in interrogative form, its basic meaning is still assertive. However, when used as a pronoun (I already have some), it is pronounced with a strong form. Non-assertive partitive indefinites express two ideas at the time, but still an uncertain number of identity since the basic meaning is negative. In negative and interrogative sentences we have anyone and anybody for singular personal count nouns (I didn’t see anybody) and anything for singular non-personal count nouns (She didn’t buy anything). In plural, for count nouns in general, any (as some) is used for noncount as well (She had no bananas/idea). Since any is the negative counterpart of some, we may find it functioning as a pronoun (Did you find the pepper?- No, I didn’t find any). Its counterpart ‘either’ functions as a determiner, meaning ‘one or the other’, and occasionally ‘both’. Negative partitive pronouns include nobody and no one for personal reference in count singular nouns whereas, nothing ’ nowhere have non-personal reference. None and neither are used for singular count nouns, both personal and non-personal, and only none is used for plural count and noncount nouns.

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NUMBER

FUNCTION

COUNT

NON-COUNT

PERSONAL

NONPERSONAL

Assertive

Pronoun

Someone

 

Singular

Determiner

something

Somebody

some

A / an

Plural

Pronoun &

 

Determiner

some

Non-assertive

Pronoun

Anyone

Anything

 

Singular

Anybody

Determiner

Either

any

Any

Plural

Pronoun &

 

Determiner

Any

Negative

Pronoun

Nobody Nothing No one None / neither

 

Singular

Determiner

Any

No

None

 

Pronoun &

 

Plural

Determiner

None

2.3.3. Quantifying pronouns Also called quantifiers, this type of pronouns refer to the increase or decrease of ‘the totality, lack of, or partial amount’ of something. They fall into three main subclasses:

a. Quantifiers which can only function as pronouns: they are the universal and partitive pronouns together, thus someone, somebody, something; anyone, anybody, anything; everyone, everybody, everything; and no one, nobody, nothing, and none: ‘I seem to have forgotten everything’ and None of the girls has/have been invited’. Numerals are included in this type and, in particular, cardinal numbers (I bought three).

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b. Quantifiers which can function both as pronouns and as determiners: these are divided into two types: first, enumerative quantifiers for singular and count nouns (a, an, one, and numerals) or plural count and noncount nouns (some, enough, both, all). Second, general quantifiers for count nouns (many, (a) few, several) and noncount nouns (much, (a) little). Thus, the following quantifiers, functioning both as pronouns and determiners, may be included here: some, any, each, all, both, either, neither; much, many (more, most); (a) little, less, least; (a) few, fewer, fewest; plenty of, a lot of, lots of, a great deal of; enough, and several (‘So far I have discovered few mistakes). Within enumerative quantifiers, we also include cardinal and ordinal numbers. Apart from numerals, we include general quantifiers, which comprise a variety of words and expressions. For instance, many and much are not different in meaning but they differ in context, since many is used only with plural count nouns (He said many stupid things) and much only occurs with noncount nouns.

But we may also use phrasal quantifiers, such as a great deal of or a large number of + plural noun (There are a large number of witnesses) or a large amount of + singular noun (We have a great deal of time). In informal style, they appear again in affirmative sentences but using other expressions, such as plenty of, a lot of, lots of, or loads of, used for both count and noncount nouns. Many and much have other particular uses, for instance, when combined with too, so, or as in order to provide a negative feeling to the ‘amount of’ under consideration (‘too many children were at home).

Similarly, few or a few or several are used with count nouns, whereas little and a little, or a little of occur with noncount nouns, in singular. When comparing few and little, we find a positive/negative contrast depending on whether the definite article is used or not. For instance, when using the article ‘a few biscuits’, they have a positive meaning, thus, ‘several biscuits’. However, negative meaning is conveyed with no article. Several is rarely preceded by a determiner, and is always used with plural count nouns (He had several lovers). The quantifier enough is used with both count and noncount nouns (There are enough chairs / wine). Moreover, each operates with singular reference (Each member came) and is targeted on the individual among the totality whereas all and both make plural and dual universal reference (Both men were arrested). Neither is used with singular verbs (Neither parents realized what was going on) and its opposite is either. With either we only use a singular noun (Either room is ok). Finally, the

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comparatives much, more, most; little, less, least; and few, fewer, fewest where more refers to count

and noncount nouns, less only noncount, and fewer only count.

c. Quantifiers that function as determiner only. To this subclass belong every and no, as in

Everybody has its rights’ and ‘He has no money and no prospects’.

3. EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY: DETERMINERS

Determiner

FUNCTION

Pre-determiner

Central determiner

Post determiner

REALIZATION

all

both

double

half

twice

many (a)

such (a)

what (a)

definite article indefinite article demonstrative pronouns possessive pronouns relative pronouns genitive another any each either enough every much neither no some what which whose

cardinal numbers ordinal numbers next, last few, fewer, fewest little, less, least many, more, most other own same such

There are three classes of determiners regarding the expression of quantity, and therefore,

number. Thus, predeterminers, central determiners, and postdeterminers, since they co-occur with

the noun classes: singular count, plural count, and noncount nouns. Depending on the items they are

combined with, they will have different realizations, and some of the pronouns seen before will turn

into determiners. The function determiner marking number can be realized by a wide range of

items, such as the definite article, the indefinite article, possessive pronouns, demonstrative

pronouns, numerals, and certain indefinite pronouns marking number, which were considered to be

pronouns and determiners at the same time. These comprise words such as each, all/both, no and

the every compounds (count pronouns) and all /none (noncount).

3.1. Predeterminers

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Predeterminers form a class mutually exclusive, preceding those central determiners with which they can co-occur. Two subsets can be distinguished: (1) all, both, half, and (2) the multipliers. Regarding all, both, half, they have in common the positive characteristics of being able to occur before the articles, the demonstratives, and the possessives (all/both/half the/these/our students). However, they also have the negative characteristic of not occurring before determiners that themselves entail quantification: every, each, (n)either, some, any, no, enough. The items all and half occur with plural count and noncount nouns, as in all the books/all the music and all books/all music, and half the book(s)/half the music. Note that half is the only one that can be followed by the indefinite article or numerals since fractions other than half are usually followed by an of-phrase article (She read a quarter of the book; half an hour). However, both occurs with plural count nouns both books. Secondly, regarding multipliers, we include the items once, twice, three times, expressions of emphasis and costing. Therefore, the items double and twice can combine with both singular and plural heads (all poetry; four times Peter’s salary; half this cheese; twice these sums). On the other hand, expressions such as many, such and what, when realizing the predeterminer function, are obligatory followed by the indefinite article (many a time, such a disgrace, what a pity).

3.2. Central determiners

Central determiners include the definite and indefinite articles as their commonest determiners since their distribution is dependent upon the class of the accompanying noun (singular or plural). In order to relate definiteness to number, we have the following system for count and noncount nouns. First, beside the sole definite article the, we have two indefinite articles a and zero marker, the former occurring with singular count nouns, its zero analogue with noncount and plural count noun. Second, there are several other determiners that can co-occur equally with singular count, plural count, and noncount nouns: the demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those); the possessive pronouns (my, our, your, his, her, its, their); the relative pronouns (which, what, whose); specifying genitive (all Peter’s clothes).

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COUNT

NON-COUNT

SINGULAR

Definite

The book

The music

Indefinite

A book

Music

PLURAL

Definite

The books

 

Indefinite

Books (zero)

 

Other items include the negative determiner no (He has no car), the universal determiners every and each (We’ll interview every/each student), the nonassertive/negative dual determiners either and neither (Parking is not permitted on either side of the street), the general assertive determiner some (I would like some bread), the general nonassertive determiner any (We haven’t any bread), the quantitative determiner enough (We have enough bread), also, the quantitative much (We have much bread). The definite article, the demonstrative and possessive pronouns, and the genitive are alike in that they can be preceded by the predeterminer items all, both, double, half and twice, and followed by cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers and the words last and next. The indefinite article, for instance, can be preceded by half, many, such and what. An exception in combinations is that of every + a possessive (his (John’s, whose) every wish).

3.3. Postdeterminers

Postdeterminers take their place immediately after determiners. They include cardinal and ordinal numbers, next, last; few, fewer, fewest; little, less, least; many, more, most; other, own, same, such. Postdeterminers fall into two classes: ordinals (first, fourth, last, other) and quantifiers (cardinal numbers, many, few, plenty of, a lot of). We should note a contrast involving few, a few, a little, little, and also between assertive and nonassertive usage. For instance, some items are predominantly assertive (plenty of, a few, a little, a good many), while others are predominantly nonassertive (such as much, many): seven days, one more drink; the first two pages; the next few years, the last two weeks; few other people, little more news; many more accidents; (many) other problems, my own car.

4. PARTITIVE CONSTRUCTIONS

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Both count and noncount nouns can enter constructions denoting part of a whole. This provides a means of imposing number on noncount nouns, since the partition is generally expressed by a count noun of partitive meaning, such as piece or sort, which can be singular or plural, followed by an of-phrase. Here, we may include noncount means, plural count nouns concerning specific sets of nouns, and singular count nouns. These are the expressions of precise measure ( a yard of cloth, two kilos), and also of fractional partition (He ate a quarter of that beef). Regarding noncount means, phrasal quantifiers provide a means of imposing countability on noncount nouns as the following partitive expressions illustrate: general partitives, as in plenty of, a lot of, lots of, a great/good deal of, a large/small quantity/amount of, a great/large/good number of. Other typical partitives can be used very generally when talking about noncount nouns, referring to little bits of concerning measures, thus a pint of beer, a spoonful of medicine, a pound of butter, a slice of cake/bread/meat, a roast of meat, a few loaves of bread, a bowl of soup, a bottle of wine, a cup of coffee, a packet of sugar, a blade of grass, some specks of dust, and so on. Moreover, general partitives may be included, as in two pieces/a bit/an item of news/information/furniture. Regarding plural count nouns, we tend to have partitives relating to specific sets of nouns, as in a flock of sheep/pigeons, two flocks of sheep; an army of ants; a company of actors; a crowd of people; a series of concerts, two series of concerts; a pair of scissors. As for singular count nouns, we find a piece of a leather belt, a page of a book, two pieces of a broken cup, two acts of a play.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF QUANTITY: OTHER MEANS

Other means of expressing quantity may be drawn from the semantic choice of verb, adverbial phrases, and certain idioms which may imply the notion of quantity. Thus, we may increase or decrease the ‘amount of’ the item implied in our speech by means of using different verbal choices, as for instance, the contrast between rain vs. pour, run vs. rush, eat vs. gulp, hit vs. smash, talk vs. whisper, and so on. Secondly, within adverbial phrases, we may increase or decrease the notion of quantity by using certain adverbs in a sentence, such as the so-called frequency adverbs. For instance, compare the sentences ‘I always go swimming four times a week’ (100% frequency) vs. ‘I never go swimming’ (0% frequency). Thirdly, certain idiomatic expressions may

Fuster-Saura oposingles@hotmail.com Unit 13

imply a relevant difference in quantity, both concrete or abstract. For instance, compare ‘Charles is a bit stubborn’ vs. ‘Charles is stubborn as a mule’, ‘She is very sensitive’ vs. ‘She is cold as ice’.

6. CONCLUSION

Although the questions How much? and How many? may appear simple and straightforward, they imply a broad description of the means that make an appropriate answer suitable for students and teachers. It is a fact that students must handle the four levels in communicative competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life situations. The expression of quantity proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., Quirk, R., Svartvik, J., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman, 1985. Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. C.U.P.,

2002.

Hymes, Del. On Communicative Competence. London: Penguin, 1972. Leech, G and Svartvik, J. A Communicative Grammar of English. Singapore: Longman., 1986.

Swam, M. Practical English Usage. OUP, 1995.

APPENDIX

Fuster-Saura oposingles@hotmail.com Unit 13

Specific pronouns

Central

Personal (subject –I, you-, object –me, him-, genitive –their) Reflexive (myself, yourself, himself, ourselves, themselves) Reciprocal (each other, one another) Possessive (mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs)

Relative

Who, which, that, whose

Interrogative

Who, whom, whose, which, what

Demonstrative

This, that, these, those

Universal

Each, all, every, and every compounds.

Indefinite pronouns

Partitive

Assertive (someone, something; some, several) Non-assertive (anyone, anybody, anything, anywhere) Negative (no one, nobody, nothing, nowhere, neither)

Quantifying

As only pronouns As pronouns and determiners (General and enumerative:

many, much, few, little, one, some, etc.) As only determiners