|Much is used with uncountable nouns like smoke, water, money|
|“There is too much smoke in this restaurant.”|
|Many is used with plural countable nouns like cars, sunglasses, people|
|“There are too many cars on the road.”|
Watch the video at the end of this posy to review this grammar and improve your English listening skills.
Much or Many – Do you know how to use these words? In this post, you will learn these words with lots of natural English examples. Read to the end!
In English, we use the words MUCH and MANY to show there is a large amount of something.
*Much is most often used in negative sentences. too much – not much
Much definition from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Many definition from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Much and many mean the same thing, but they are used with different grammar. This makes them easy to confuse for people studying English as their second language.
This blog post with video will help you understand this grammar with images and lots of examples. Soon you’ll be sounding just like a native speaker!
MUCH is used with nouns we cannot count. For Example:
There is too much smoke in this restaurant.
As mentioned above – MUCH is most often used in negative sentences. Too much or not much of something.
Saying “I have
much money.” is not natural.
I drank too much beer last night at the party!
Kyle would like to travel more, but he doesn’t have much money.
Sorry, I’m not much help.
What are uncountable nouns?
Uncountable nouns are things that we don’t count. Nouns
that are liquid like:
coffee, glue, toothpaste etc.
If I drink too much coffee it’s hard to sleep.
*So far, we have used the uncountable noun examples water, beer, and coffee. You can guess that anything we drink is uncountable.
Can you stop at the drugstore and buy some toothpaste? We don’t have much left.
*Ice cream is not a liquid but we don’t count it. Ice cream is an uncountable noun.
The restaurant had an all you can eat ice cream bar so I ate
much ice cream. This is incorrect.
The restaurant had an all you can eat ice cream bar so I ate A LOT OF ice cream.
This is correct.
You can use A LOT OF with uncountable nouns.
I drank A LOT OF coffee today. I think it will be hard to sleep tonight.
Nouns that are gas are also uncountable. Words like:
smoke, steam, etc.
Can we have a table in the back? There is not much smoke there.
I don’t like the sauna at my gym. There is too much steam in there.
Nouns that are very small and act as a group are also
uncountable. Words like:
sand, rice, etc.
We’re going to the beach but wear your shoes, the beach is mostly rocks. There is not much sand.
The beef curry at this restaurant has just a few pieces of meat and too much rice. It’s not good.
Nouns that are categories like music and art.
When I was younger, I listened to a lot of music. Now I don’t listen to much music at all.
My hometown had a very small museum. There was never much art to see there.
Other examples of uncountable nouns that you might hear with MUCH – luck, traffic, bread, help, hair.
My brother and I went fishing this morning but we didn’t have much luck. I only caught 2 fish and they were quite small.
I like to get to the office before 7:00. It’s quiet in the morning and there is not much traffic on the roads.
My aunt makes delicious bread, but I always eat too much.
A: My car started making a strange noise this morning.
B: I’m not good with cars so I don’t think I can be much help.
When Ian was younger he had a lot of hair but now he doesn’t have very much.
Good At VS. Good With – Do you know the difference?
MANY is used with the plural forms
of nouns we can count.
There are too many cars on the road. Public transportation is better for the environment.
There are many people on this train.
You can also use A LOT OF with plural countable nouns.
There are too A LOT OF cars on the road.
There are A LOT OF people on this train.
I have many apps on my iPhone.
*Apps is the plural form of the countable noun ‘app.’ It’s short for a software application.
Countable Vs. Uncountable
Groups Vs. Items
Here is a chart with some countable and uncountable word pairs that describe groups (uncountable) and things (countable) are part of that group.
|Groups – uncountable||Things in group – countable|
|Furniture||Chair, table, lamp|
|Traffic||Car, van, motorcycle|
Too much – Too many
The adverb TOO is used to show that the amount of something is more than is good, necessary, possible, etc. This is a negative feeling.
TOO is used before adjectives and adverbs:
We arrived at the hotel 3 hours before check-in. We were TOO early.
- We arrived earlier than necessary. (Early is an adjective)
When TOO is used before MUCH and MANY it is stressing that amount of the the thing that follows it is more than is good, necessary, possible, etc.
“I put too much sugar in my coffee this morning. I couldn’t finish it.”
(The amount of sugar is more than I needed, it had a negative effect on the coffee.)
TOO can be used with both MUCH and MANY.
I have too much to do today. I need some help!
I wanted to take a walk in the woods but there are too many mosquitoes tonight.
So much – So many
Below is a quote from my SO and SUCH blog post (with video)
SO can be used with the determiners much, many, little, and few to make these words stronger. In English grammar, a determiner is a word that comes before a noun to show how the noun is being used.
Greg has so much responsibility at work. I feel bad for him, he works overtime every day.
The noun responsibility is uncountable.
There are so many rules at my school.
Rules is a plural countable noun.
Learn more about this grammar HERE: So and Such – English Grammar (video + free PDF download)
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MUCH and MANY difference – Conclusion and VIDEO
Remember that much is used with uncountable nouns usually in negative sentences. Many is used with countable nouns in both positive and negative sentences. A LOT OF can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.
Thanks for reading my post. Use this grammar correctly and sound like a native speaker when you use English.
Click the thumbnail below for a direct link to this video on YouTube.