Adjectives of quantity tell how much or how many. They have these three subdivisions:
(1) QUANTITY IN BULK: such words as little, much, some, no, any, considerable, sometimes small, joined usually to singular nouns to express an indefinite measure of the thing spoken of.
The following examples are from Kingsley:—So he parted with much weeping of the lady.Which we began to do with great labor and little profit.Because I had some knowledge of surgery and blood-letting.But ever she looked on Mr. Oxenham, and seemed to take nocare as long as he was by.
Examples of small an adjective of quantity:—
"The deil's in it but I bude to anger him!" said the woman, and walked away with a laugh of small satisfaction.—Macdonald.
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep.—Coleridge.
It gives small idea of Coleridge's way of talking.—Carlyle.
When some, any, no, are used with plural nouns, they come under the next division of adjectives.How many.
(2) QUANTITY IN NUMBER, which may be expressed exactly by numbers or remotely designated by words expressing indefinite amounts. Hence the natural division into—
(a) Definite numerals; as, "one blaze of musketry;" "He found in the pathway fourteen Spaniards;" "I have lost one brother, but I have gained fourscore;" "a dozen volunteers."
(b) Indefinite numerals, as the following from Kingsley: "We gave several thousand pounds for it;" "In came some five and twenty more, and with them a few people;" "Then we wandered for many days;" "Amyas had evidently more schemes in his head;" "He had lived by hunting for some months;" "That light is far too red to be the reflection of any beams of hers."Single ones of any number of changes.
(3) DISTRIBUTIVE NUMERALS, which occupy a place midway between the last two subdivisions of numeral adjectives; for they are indefinite in telling how many objects are spoken of, but definite in referring to the objects one at a time. Thus,—
Every town had its fair; every village, its wake.—Thackeray.
An arrow was quivering in each body.—Kingsley.
Few on either side but had their shrewd scratch to show.—Id.Before I taught my tongue to woundMy conscience with a sinful sound,Or had the black art to dispenseA several sin to every sense.—Vaughan.
Exercise.—Bring up sentences with ten adjectives of quantity.