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English Grammar and Exercises for ESL learners.


A lot of - much - many :
  • A lot of :

    • A lot of can be used in all sentences: affirmative, negative and interrogative.
  • Much - many :

    • Much is used with uncountable nouns (for example: 'much English')

    • Many is used with countable nouns (for example : 'many words').

    • Much and many are used in negative and interrogative sentences.
      They are rarely used in affirmative sentences, except:

      • If they begin a sentence:
        - Many people believe all they hear.
        - Much of what was said was confusing.

      • If they are preceded by ‘so’, ‘as’ and ‘too’
            and in some expressions with ‘very’:
        - There was much noise.
        - There was so much noise that I couldn’t hear very well.
        - We ate many cherries.
        - You can eat as many cherries as you like.
        - They gave us much information.
        - They gave us too much information.
        - I enjoyed the film very much.

      • In formal or written English.
        In affirmative sentences much and many are more often used in formal or
        written English whereas a lot of/ lots of are more common in conversational English.
        For example, much and many are generally used in newspaper reports and headlines.

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
We learn a lot of English. I don't know a lot of English. Do you learn a lot of English?
I make a lot of mistakes. I don't know much English. Do you know much English?
BUT :    
Much of our food is exported. I don't know a lot of words. Do you make a lot of mistakes?
Many people drive too fast. I don't know many words. Do you make many mistakes?

Compare a lot of and a lot :
  • Tom knows a lot of vocabulary.
  • Charlie is talkative. He talks a lot.

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