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Much vs. Many vs. A Lot

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Common mistakes

  1. (NG) I drank much coffee this morning, so I’m a little nervous.
    1. (OK) I drank a lot of coffee this morning, so I’m a little nervous.
  2. (NG) I have too a lot of problems in my office.
    1. (OK) I have too many problems in my office.

Grammar words and phrases in context
I love coffee and since there are many types of coffee in the world, I am always interested in trying new blends when I find them. My friends say I drink too much coffee, but I don’t think it’s so much.

We use many before countable nouns and we use much before non-countable nouns. Many means a large number of things and much means a large amount of something.

  1. I have many ideas for the weekend.
  2. Many people in the USA like to eat hot dogs.
  3. I don’t have much time this week.
  4. Do you have much work to do this week?

Many is used in positive statements, negative statements, and questions.

  1. I have many ideas for the weekend → positive statement
  2. Joe just moved to NYC and doesn’t have many friends. → negative statement
  3. Do you have many books and CDs? → question

Many can also be used in a positive sentence with a modifier like so or too:

  1. There were so many people on the train this morning.
  2. I had too many cups of coffee this morning. I really need to cut down.

Much is generally used in negative statements and questions. For positive statements, we don’t usually use much by itself. We prefer using a lot of instead of much.

  1. I don’t have much time this week. → negative statement
  2. Do you have much work to do this week? → question
  3. I think we will have a lot of snow this winter. We can’t say, I think we will have much snow this winter.

 Much can be used in a positive sentence with an adverb like so or too.

  1. There was too much snow last winter.
  2. With so much language to choose from, it is sometimes difficult to choose what lessons I should teach here.

Keep in mind that we don’t use a lot with an adverb like so or too.

  1. I have a lot of books in my office. We can’t say, I have so a lot of books…

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