Much or Many? English grammar (+Video)

Much or Many – Do you know how to use these words? In this post you will learn how with natural English examples. Read to the end and then watch my” MUCH Vs. MANY” video!

In English we use the words MUCH and MANY to show there is a large amount of something.

Much
Much is used with uncountable nouns like smoke, water, money
“There is too much smoke in this restaurant.”
Many
Many is used with plural countable nouns like cars, sunglasses, people
“There are too many cars on the road.”

*Much is most often used in negative sentences. too muchnot 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 or Many
MUCH is used with nouns we cannot count.

MUCH is used with nouns we cannot count. For Example

  • Smoke
  • Water
  • Money

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.

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.
You can use A LOT OF with uncountable nouns.

The restaurant had an all you can eat ice cream bar so I ate A LOT OF ice cream.

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 kike the sauna at my gym. There is too much steam.

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.

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.

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 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.

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MANY is used with the plural forms of nouns we can count. 
For Example:

  • Cars
  • Sunglasses
  • People

There are many people on this train.

There are too many cars on the road. Public transportation is better for the environment.

You can also use A LOT OF with 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
Music Song
Furniture Chair, table, lamp
Luck Chance, accident
Weather Cloud
Traffic Car, van, motorcycle

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