Partitives, Collectives, & Quantifiers
English 100

Dr. Ruthmita H. Rozul

The English language distinguishes between count nouns and noncount nouns. Both of these nouns can be modified by partitive constructions which denote a part of a whole (Celce-Murcia, Larsen-Freeman, 2008).

A partitive is a phrase consisting of a count noun followed by   of   that precedes another noun.

(det) noun of _____________

a bar of soap

a deck of cards

a litter of

Look at this list containing units of measure used to describe specific quantities of non count nouns.

Use them in sentences

two cups of a carton of a litter of young animals

one piece of a box of a sheet of

a bowl of a handfuf of a bagful of

a quart of a mix of a shelf of

a bar of a pattern of a stick of

Categories of common partitives:

  1. precise measure phrases

          a cupful of flour

          a bag of cement

  2. container-based

          a shelf of books

          a carton of milk

          two trays of eggs

  3. portion-based

          a serving of fruit salad

          a slice of bread

          50 grams of cinnamon powder

  4. individual members of a category

          a piece of luggage

          a brand of textile

a mile long race

Collectives are nouns taken together and spoken of as one whole.   In the phrase ‘a pride of lions’, pride is a collective noun.

Quantifiers are determiners indicative of quantity (e.g. all, both).

Task 1: Use the words on the list to complete the sentences. Use the plural form if necessary. Some sentences have more than one possible answer:

bar glass sheet bottle loaf spoonful

bowl piece tube cup quart ream gallon

TASK 2:   Fill in the blanks with appropriate partitives (
  1. He brought two _________________ of cheese.
  2. He brought a _________________...

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