English Grammar - Advanced

Advanced Quantifiers

Some & Any

These words are seen at lower levels, but the rules controlling their use can be quite complicated.

We use "some" in positive sentences, but also in questions where we expect the answer to be "yes".


Isn't there anything we can do?
Isn't there something we can do?

The first is a neutral question not giving much idea of the speaker's attitude. The second example is a question that tells us the speaker is certain there is something we can do, letting us know he/she is frustrated or angry about the situation.

Some can also be used:

Any can also be used:

Lots, Many Of, Much Of, Plenty

These expressions are used to talk about large quantities of things.


Many of you know him from the TV show "Breakdown".
We had plenty of courses to choose from, it was a very good college.
Lots of the apples are bad. Throw them away.

Lots of and a lot of is more informal than much/many of. Many/much, used alone, sound more informal and can be more often found in writing.


Much of what we thought we knew has now been disproven.
Many consider the theory to be outdated.

All (Of), Whole, Both

We use all (of) and whole when we are talking about the entirety of something or a group of things.


All (of) the rice has gone cold. Heat it up again.
The whole fridge is filthy! Clean it immediately.

In negative sentences, there is a difference between not all and none.

None of my friends came to the party.
Not all my friends came to the party.

The first sentence means there were zero friends there. In the second sentence, some came, perhaps half, but not all of them.

We don't generally use "all" on its own in English to mean "everything" or "everyone" like many other languages can.

All were waiting in the airport departure lounge.
Everyone was waiting in the airport departure lounge.

Both is used to talk about two things together.

Both of you were feeling ill yesterday, weren't you?
Both (of) the dogs look very aggressive.

We don't use both in negative sentences. We use "neither" without a negative verb.

Both are you aren't happy.
Neither of you are happy.

Each & Every

We use each and every to talk about all the countable nouns in a group.

I love every movie that Tom Cruise has made.
I wrote each composition I had to do very carefully.

Verbs that follow are singular.

Every apple costs 50 cents.

With expressions such as "nearly" and "almost", we use every.


Nearly every plane was delayed due to the snow and high winds.
Virtually everyone in the classroom was confused.

We also use every when talking about a large group with an indefinite number in it.

Every homeowner must have home insurance. (not "each")

And when we are talking about frequency, how often something happens.

I go to the dentist every three months.

We use each when it's clear we are referring to a pair of things.

I had a baby in each arm.
Each twin had long black hair.

There can be a subtle difference in how we use each and every.


I read every book with great attention.
I read each book with great attention.

The first sentence has a meaning of "all the books" whereas we are emphasising in the second sentence how much attention every book was given.

Purpose, Reason, Result

In high level English, there are many expressions that can be used to talk about why something happened or the consequences of an action. Good knowledge of these words and structures are important as your English progresses.


Because and as can be used both in the middle of sentences and at the beginning.


We left because/as it was late.
As it was so wet, the match never took place.
Because the rain never stopped, they postponed the match.

There are other words that can be used to give reasons. Many of these are more formal.

Since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you why I didn't go to your dinner party.
The crowd grew angry at the statement, for they felt their demands had been ignored.
The weather is unusual, in that it's usually much warmer at this time of the year.
My job isn't very challenging, inasmuch as I rarely have to think about what I'm doing.

There are also several expressions using "of" that you can put in front of a noun or noun phrase.

Because of the high cost, we cancelled the vacation and stayed at home instead.
Owing to unforeseen circumstances, we won't be able to offer you the job after all.
She left him due to his disloyalty.

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Purpose & Results

The most common expression to talk about purpose in the Infinitive of Purpose, simply the word "to".

I crossed the road to speak to Gabriel.

More formally, this can be extended to "in order to" or "so as to" with the same meaning.


So as to get a better view, I opened the window.
We're going to Berlin in order to increase our European market.

In negative sentences, the not goes before "to".

I walked fast so as not to arrive too late.

For Doing vs. To Do

For + gerund and the infinitive of purpose are both used to talk about why you do/use something.


This is a liquid for removing oily stains.
She's using the liquid to remove an oily stain from the floor.

In the first, this is its general purpose. The second sentence talks about why she is using something.


We use so...that to talk about to connect a cause and a result.


He spoke so quietly (that) I couldn't hear a word he was saying.
So late was our boss that we thought he wasn't coming at all.

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