Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 86): les adverbes de quantité


Source: french.about.com

French adverbs of quantity explain how many or how much.

assez (de)
quite, fairly, enough

autant (de)
as much, as many

beaucoup (de)  
a lot, many

bien de*
quite a few

combien (de)
how many, much

davantage
more

encore de*
more

environ
around, approximately

la majorité de*
the majority of

la minorité de*
the minority of

moins (de)
less, fewer

un nombre de
a number of

pas mal de
quite a few

(un) peu (de)
few, little, not very

la plupart de*
most

plus (de)
more

une quantité de
a lot of

seulement
only

si
so

tant (de)
so much, so many

tellement
so

très
very

trop (de)
too much, too many

un/e verre/boîte/kilo de
a glass/can/kg/bit of

Adverbs of quantity (except très) are often followed by de + noun. When this happens, the noun usually does not have an article in front of it; i.e., de stands alone, with no definite article.*

    Il y a beaucoup de problèmes. There are a lot of problems.
    J’ai moins d’étudiants que Thierry. I have fewer students than Thierry.

*This does not apply to the starred adverbs, which are always followed by the definite article.

Exception: When the noun after de refers to specific people or things, the definite article is used and contracts with de just as the partitive article would. Compare the following sentences to the above examples.

    Beaucoup des problèmes sont graves. A lot of the problems are serious. – We are referring to specific problems, not problems in general.
    Peu des étudiants de Thierry sont ici. Few of Thierry’s students are here. – This is a specific group of students, not students in general.

Verb conjugations may be singular or plural, depending on the number of the noun that follows.

Approximate numbers (like une douzaine, une centaine) follow the same rules.

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