In Grammar By Catherine

Partitive Expressions

Knowledge of at least some fixed expressions from this category will help to make your speech more natural. Often, trying to find the equivalents of such expressions in the English language, we translate each word separately, which does not always bring the desired results, as many of them are stable in the English language, and combined with words alone can not completely be combined with others. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to «guess» what is an expression is used, for this reason, like all English words, they should at least try to remember. There are several groups of expressions that are used for quantification. Most of them are used with uncountable nouns, but not only with them. These expressions are:

  • Word calling capacity.
  • Words used with uncountable nouns.
  • Words used with abstract nouns.
  • Words used with groups of objects or people.

Food and substances

tub of butter pack of butter can of Coke can of Coke
packet of crisps a packet of crisps ounce of gold an ounce of gold
loaf of bread a loaf of bread jar of jam jar of jam
joint of meat piece of meat roll of cloth roll of cloth
bunch of bananas / grapes a bunch of bananas / grapes carton of yogurt cup of yogurt
keg of beer keg of beer ball of string hank of gum
slice of ham / bread a slice of ham / bread sack of potatoes a sack of potatoes
lump of sugar cube of sugar sheet of paper paper
bar of chocolate chocolate bar cube of ice ice Cube

Food and substances 2

pile of magazines stack of magazines bundle of banknotes stack of bills
pile of sand Sand Mountain dozen of eggs a dozen eggs
goblet of wine goblet of wine bale of hay a stack of hay
bar of soap soap bar pad of paper notebook
bottle of champagne a bottle of champagne tin of dog’s food Bank of dog food
string of pearls rope of pearls barrel oil barrel
crate of bottles Box with bottles box of matches Matchbox

Small quantities

drop of water / blood / oil a drop of water / blood / oil scrap of paper a piece of paper
ray of sunshine a ray of sunshine pinch of salt a pinch of salt
speck of dust speck, speck hint of pepper / garlic little pepper / garlic
breath of air breath of air gust of wind wind gust
splinter of glass / wood shard of glass / Sliver pat of butter pat of butter
grain of sand / rice grain / risinka crumb of bread baby
shred of cloth / truth Shred, klaptik / drop of truth puff of smoke puff
item of news news segment of orange orange slice
clod of earth clod of earth square of chocolate «Cube» of chocolate
flake of snow snowflake rasher of bacon / ham rasher / ham


band of musicians a group of musicians team of hockey players Team players
horde of nomads a horde of nomads panel of advisers team of specialists
patrol of scouts Boy Scout troop gang of criminals a gang of criminals
platoon of infantry soldiers detachment of marines assembly of worshippers a group of admirers
circle of close friends close friends staff of teachers Teaching Staff
squadron of bomber pilots squadron crowd of spectators crowd of spectators
cavalry of horse riders cavalry cast of actors in a film cast
mob of hooligans a crowd of hooligans party of holidaymakers a crowd of tourists
crew of sailors crew troupe of travelling actors wandering troupe of actors
cabinet of ministers cabinet board of directors board of directors


set of cutlery cutlery set bunch of flowers / keys Bouquet / keychain
pack of playing cards deck of playing cards clump of grass tuffet
quiver of arrows quiver of arrows tuft of hair topknot
cluster of stars cluster of stars block of flats multi-storey building
network of TV stations Network television stations plot of land land
pile of books stack of books chain of restaurants restaurant chain
row of chairs a row of chairs make of a car car brand

Abstract nouns

fit of anger fit of anger piece of advice advice
act of courage courageous act flurry of excitement the rush of excitement
spot of trouble / bother quandary stroke of bad weather «Seizure» of bad weather
branch of science / knowledge discipline wave of panic wave of panic
pangs of conscience remorse pang of regret / anxiety attack of remorse / alarm
shred of evidence the slightest evidence state of emergency state of emergency
stroke of good / bad luck success / failure; happy / unhappy accident bout of drinking / flu binge / bout of flu
stream of abuse the flow of battle pack of lies pack of lies


brood of chickens brood of chickens flock of birds a flock of birds
herd of elephants herd of elephants pack of wolves pack of wolves
swarm of hornets a swarm of wasps herd of cattle herd (cattle)
plague of locusts Swarms of locusts shoal of fish school of fish
cloud / swarm of flies a cloud of flies stable of horses stall horse
colony of ants Family ants hive of bees hive
herd of sheep flock of sheep school of sharks / whales pack of sharks / Whales
litter of puppies litter of puppies kennel of dogs enclosure (box) with dogs

Of course, this list is not complete, but I hope that it will help you better understand these expressions, and a small test will help consolidate the material.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>