LSAT Numbers: All, Most, Several, Many, Some, None

LSAT Blog Numbers All Most Several Many Some NoneIsn't it annoying when words seem to mean something different on the LSAT than they do in real life?

Starts to make you wonder about the last time an LSAT test-writer spoke with a live human being.

In this post, I clear up some of the differences between our normal understandings of common quantifiers (words that indicate the number of something) and the way the LSAT uses them.



The word "all" isn't one of the confusion-causing words, but let's cover it anyway.

Let's suppose I've got 100 chocolate-chip cookies in a box, and, by the time I finish writing this blog post, I've eaten every single one of them (writing works up an appetite, don't judge). Then, I can say with certainty, "ALL the cookies in that box were deliciously fattening."

All = 100%

Most / Majority

Let's suppose I've exercised a bit of restraint and only eaten 99 of them (I'll eat the remaining one after the February 2011 LSAT.) I can then say with certainty, "Most of the cookies in that box were finger-lickin good." I can say "most" because I've eaten a majority of them. However, until I eat the remaining one, I won't be able to tell you whether all of them were good or not, because I haven't thoroughly, ummm, "examined" each one.

As such, it's entirely possible that all of them are good, so when I say that most of them are good, we still have to allow for the possibly that all of them will be good. This is why the word "most" allows for the possibility of all.

(The same would be true if I ate 50 cookies and then took just a tiny nibble of the 51st, because I'd then be over the halfway point. At that point, I can say that a majority are good, but it's still possible that all are.)

In everyday speech, when we say things like "most of that movie was pretty good" and "most of that meal was delicious" there's an implicit (assumed) meaning that not all of it was good.

If we wanted to speak literally all of the time, we'd say things like, "most, but not all, of that movie was good. I found the ending rather elementary, old chap" or "while the majority of my dinner was delectable, the crème brûlée was a bit overdone."

However, we don't always elaborate at the outset, because then I'd have to punch you in the face for speaking like Sherlock Holmes and complaining about your fancy crème brûlée. Instead, for purposes of simplicity, we usually just emphasize the words "most" and "majority," and the other person usually asks us which parts we didn't like.

If we wanted to take those everyday sentences, with their everyday meanings, but give them just a small dose of literalism, we'd say, "most, but not all, of that movie was pretty good" and "most, but not all, of that meal was delicious."

Without the "but not all", when I hear you say, "most of that movie was pretty good", it's possible that you're simply just-over-halfway through the movie and think everything so far is good

Most / Majority = A range from 1/2 of total + 1 (or 1/2 plus the smallest possible unit that can be broken off, like a cookie crumb) - 100%

For purposes of simplicity, we might just think of it as 51% - 100%.

Several / Many

If I told you that I have a box of a 100 chocolate-chip cookies, I confirmed that several of them are tasty, you wouldn't truly know how many I ate, or how many of them are actually tasty.

"Several" and "many" refer to some kind of sizable (and plural) number, so we know it's more than one or two, but how many exactly? It's impossible to say. This is an indeterminate number. Like most/majority, it allows the possibility of all.

Several / Many = a range of more than 2 - all the way up to 100%

For purposes of simplicity, we can think of it as 3 - 100% or 3 - all.


Let's suppose I catch you stuffing your face with cookies from that 100-cookie box. I ask, "How many did you eat?" You reply, ""Some..."

Vague, right? Maybe you ate only 1, or maybe you had 5, 10, 49, 75, 99, or 100. Without more information, we don't know just how many you ate.

Like the many/majority example, making a claim regarding "some" does not exclude the possibility that "all" have that characteristic, whether it's with regard to how many of them were delicious or just how many were eaten.

In order to know that you hadn't eaten all the cookies, you would've needed to specifically claim that you had eaten "some, but not all", so I'll know that there's still at least 1 cookie remaining for me to eat.

Some = a range from 1 - all the way up to 100%

For purposes of simplicity, we can think of it as 1 - 100% or 1 - all.


The word "none" isn't one of the confusion-causing words, but let's cover it anyway.

Let's suppose I've got a new box with 100 chocolate-chip cookies, but I now have a stomachache from eating all the cookies in the previous examples. I can't even bear to look at this new box of cookies without thinking about how I'll soon be another number in the oft-cited statistics about America's obesity epidemic.

So, I take the box of cookies and donate it to the homeless guy on the street corner (a questionable donation, I know, but I didn't think he'd want kale).

How many cookies did I eat from that box? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. How many of the cookies in that box can I say are delicious with absolute certainty? I don't know. Maybe they're stale, and the homeless guy will get pissed at me.

None = 0%


Photo by Lisa W.


  1. Thanks for the post Steve. According to the LRB, several/many/some are all equated as the same meaning 1 to 100 (“at least one”) ....
    not really sure if that is confusing.

  2. some = 1-100%, that's freakin ridiculous...for an exam that is supposed to test one's logical skills how is it at all logical to say that "some" can equal "100percent?"

  3. Hi Steve,

    What does "few" mean logically?

  4. Thanks Steve! I want to make sure I understood you right, if the argument will contain the word SOME, can the correct answer contain ALL?

  5. Some = 1-99% of course.

    Some does not/can not equal all or 100%.

    We have to use our critical thinking skills and not just rely on Steve or anyone else for the right answer to memorize.

    1. Steve is right. "Some" does not preclude the possibility of "all."

  6. Some = 100% (possibility) the same way many = 100% (possibility). If I said "Some of these cookies are delicious!" It remains possible that all of the cookies are delicious. Similarly, if I said "Many of these cookies are delicious!" It remains possible that all of the cookies are delicious. In every day language, when you hear "Some of these cookies are delicious," you assume the rest are not. However, if I do not explicitly say they are not, you can not implicitly derive that the rest of the cookies (that I did not eat) are not delicious as well. I think this is what the blogger is trying to get at.

  7. " Be careful when listening to what other students say. The students that perform the best are the ones who understand they are learning a board game. The one's who don't get it think it's their job to prove that the right answer is wrong." Susan Estrich

  8. How do you negate quantity words?

  9. Where does the word "often" fall in this classification?

  10. What about "Few" and "A few"? Few means at least one or means two or more?

  11. What about "often"?

  12. Negating quantity words: not [quantity word]. So the inverse of 'none' is 'not none' = some/any. Negate 'all' = 'not all' = <100% (right up to 99.99%). Inverse of most/majority = less than or equal to 50%. Inverse of several/many = 0, 1, or 2 (%). Etc.

    Think of 'often' and 'frequently' as 'many times'. Similarly, 'usually' equates to 'most of the time', always = all of the time, never = none of the time, etc.

    Few is very tricky--'a few' probably means the same as several/many; 'few' might mean more than one, less than half, but both ends of this are very mushy--maybe it's more than two, less than all? The most straightforward form is probably 'few if any' which clearly *can* include zero, and is probably limited at the top end--almost certainly less than 50%, maybe even less than 1/3. Luckily, LSAT questions aren't likely to turn on knowing how to define these (unlike the other terms listed).

  13. What's the difference between no and none?

  14. What about "almost?" I was working on Prep Test 55, Section 1, #15 and the word "almost" in the stimulus really stumped me.

  15. Why is Many between 3-100 and not 2? Is that necessary? Can't many mean more than only one?

  16. That was an awesome explanation, very entertaining and easy to understand. Great job, Steve! :)

  17. I'm confused about the "most", 51%-100 is like saying is less than half, since half is 50-100% so wouldn't "most" be 49-100%?