[Non-numerical quantifiers, Section III. Nouns and noun phrases]
This paper looks at non-numerical quantifiers (NNQs), such as <i>a lot of, loads of</i>. The set of quantifiers to be discussed is first identified in relation to their description in major English grammars. Issues of variable noun complementation and verb agreement with the NNQ are identified as being of interest, along with the choice of quantifier and its collocations in different regions (Australian, New Zealand and British English) and registers. Corpus findings for <i>a lot/lots of</i> are compared with other NNQs where the quantifying noun can be singular or plural (ONNQs). An additional set of NNQs was investigated for regional variance. The findings are compared particularly with those for British English, and the status of particular NNQs as vague quantifiers and the process of delexicalization/ degrammaticization is discussed.