In this work, we compare the results of different Cliff–Lorimer (Cliff & Lorimer 1975) based methods in the case of a quantitative energy dispersive spectrometry investigation of light elements in ternary C–O–Si thin films. To determine the Cliff–Lorimer (C–L) k-factors, we fabricated, by focused ion beam, a standard consisting of a wedge lamella with a truncated tip, composed of two parallel SiO2 and 4H-SiC stripes. In 4H-SiC, it was not possible to obtain reliable k-factors from standard extrapolation methods owing to the strong CK-photon absorption. To overcome this problem, an extrapolation method exploiting the shape of the truncated tip of the lamella is proposed herein. The k-factors thus determined, were then used in an application of the C–L quantification procedure to a defect found at the SiO2/4H-SiC interface in the channel region of a metal-oxide field-effect-transistor device. As in this procedure, the sample thickness is required, a method to determine this quantity from the averaged and normalized scanning transmission electron microscopy intensity is also detailed. Monte Carlo simulations were used to investigate the discrepancy between experimental and theoretical k-factors and to bridge the gap between the k-factor and the Watanabe and Williams ζ-factor methods (Watanabe & Williams, 2006).