The following cmavo are discussed in this section:

piro |
PA |
the whole of |

pisu'o |
PA |
a part of |

Like other sumti, descriptions can be quantified. When a quantifier appears before a description, it has the same meaning as one appearing before a non-description sumti: it specifies how many things, of all those referred to by the description, are being talked about in this particular bridi. Suppose that context tells us that
*le gerku* refers to three dogs. Then we can say that exactly two of them are white as follows:

When discussing descriptions, this ordinary quantifier is called an “outer quantifier”, since it appears outside the description. But there is another possible location for a quantifier: between the descriptor and the selbri. This quantifier is called an “inner quantifier”, and its meaning is quite different: it tells the listener how many objects the description selbri characterizes.

For example, the context of
Example 6.38 supposedly told us that
*le gerku* referred to some three specific dogs. This assumption can be made certain with the use of an explicit inner quantifier:

(As explained in the discussion of Example 6.32, simple numbers like those in Example 6.39 must be exact: it therefore follows that the third dog cannot be white.)

You may also specify an explicit inner quantifier and leave the outer quantifier implicit:

There are rules for each of the 11 descriptors specifying what the implicit values for the inner and outer quantifiers are. They are meant to provide sensible default values when context is absent, not necessarily to prescribe hard and fast rules. The following table lists the implicit values:

When examined for the first time, this table looks dreadfully arbitrary. In fact, there are quite a few regularities in it. First of all, the la-series (that is, the descriptors
* la*,

The rule for the inner quantifier is very simple: the lo-series cmavo (namely,
* lo*,

Why? Because lo-series descriptors always refer to all of the things which really fit into the x1 place of the selbri. They are not restricted by the speaker's intention. Descriptors of the le-series, however, are so restricted, and therefore talk about some number, definite or indefinite, of objects the speaker has in mind – but never less than one.

Understanding the implicit outer quantifier requires rules of greater subtlety. In the case of mass and set descriptors, a single rule suffices for each: reference to a mass is implicitly a reference to some part of the mass; reference to a set is implicitly a reference to the whole set. Masses and sets are inherently singular objects: it makes no sense to talk about two distinct masses with the same components, or two distinct sets with the same members. Therefore, the largest possible outer quantifier for either a set description or a mass description is
* piro*, the whole of it.

(Pedantically, it is possible that the mass of water molecules composing an ice cube might be thought of as different from the same mass of water molecules in liquid form, in which case we might talk about
*re lei djacu*, two masses of the water-bits I have in mind.)

Why
“* pi*-”? It is the Lojban cmavo for the decimal point. Just as

Smaller quantifiers are possible for sets, and refer to subsets. Thus
*pimu le'i nanmu* is a subset of the set of men I have in mind; we don't know precisely which elements make up this subset, but it must have half the size of the full set. This is the best way to say
“half of the men”; saying
*pimu le nanmu* would give us a half-portion of one of them instead! Of course, the result of
*pimu le'i nanmu* is still a set; if you need to refer to the individuals of the subset, you must say so (see
* lu'a* in
Section 6.10).

The case of outer quantifiers for individual descriptors (including
* le*,

From the English-speaking point of view, the difference in structure between the following example using
* le*:

[ro] | le | ci | gerku | cu | blabi |

[All-of] | those-described-as | three | dogs | are-white. |

The three dogs are white. |

and the corresponding form with
* lo*:

looks very peculiar. Why is the number
* ci* found as an inner quantifier in
Example 6.41 and as an outer quantifier in
Example 6.42? The number of dogs is the same in either case. The answer is that the

Using exact numbers as inner quantifiers in lo-series descriptions is dangerous, because you are stating that exactly that many things exist which really fit the description. So examples like

are semantically anomalous; Example 6.43 claims that some dog (or dogs) is white, but also that there are just three dogs in the universe!

Nevertheless, inner quantifiers are permitted on
* lo* descriptors for consistency's sake, and may occasionally be useful.

Note that the inner quantifier of
* le*, even when exact, need not be truthful: