Much many and a lot

Much, many, a lot:

"Much""many", and "a lot of" indicate a large quantity of something, for example "I have a lot of friends " means I have a large quantity of friends.
Muchmany, and a lot are quantifiers.
A lot of - much - many :

  • A lot of :

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

    • Much and many are used in negative and interrogative sentences.
          They are rarely used in affirmative sentences, except if they begin
          the sentence . (see below)
    • Much is used with uncountable nouns (for example: 'much English')
    • Many is used with countable nouns (for example : 'many words').
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
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?

Study the examples below:

How much money have you got?I haven't got much money.
I have got a lot.
I have got a lot of money.
How many students are in the classroom?There aren't many.
There are a lot.
There are a lot of/lots of students.

In the interrogative forms we use:

    • much with uncountable nouns. (money, bread, water...)
      Example:
      How much money/bread/water...is there?
    • many with countable nouns. (students, desks, windows...)
      Example:
      How many students/teachers/desks... are there?
    (See the lesson on countable and countable nouns )

In the negative forms we use:

    • much with uncountable nouns. (money, bread, water...)
      Example:
      I haven't got much money/bread/water...
    • many with countable nouns. (students, desks, windows...)
      Example:
      There aren't many students/teachers/desks...

In the affirmative forms:

In spoken English and informal writing we tend to use:
  • a lot, a lot of, lots of with countable and uncountable nouns.
    Example:
    "How many students are there in the classroom?"
    "There are a lot."
    "How many students are there in the classroom?"
    "There are a lot of / lots of students"..
In formal written English:
  • It is also possible (and preferable) to use many and much rather than a lot of,lots of and a lot in formal written English.
    Example:
    There are many students.
    Much time was spent on studying.
So if you're speaking or writing to friends (informal), use a lota lot oflots of. But if you want to be more formal, perhaps it is preferable to use much and many.

Remember:

In affirmative sentences with soas or too, we also use much / many.
Examples:
"Carla has so many friends."
"She has as many friends as Sue."
"Kevin has too much money."

A lot of vs. Lots of

A lot of and lots of are used to express that there is a large quantity of something.
We use a lot of in positive sentences, negative sentences and questions. This expression can be used withcountable or uncountable nouns.
  • There are a lot of dogs in the street. (Countable noun)
  • I have a lot of time to answer your questions. (Uncountable noun)
  • I saw a lot of people waiting in the queue. (Countable)
  • We did have a lot of fun, didn't we? (Uncountable)
We use lots of in positive and negative sentences, however it is more informal. It can be used with countable or uncountable nouns, and occasionally in questions.
  • We have lots of time to catch the plane, lets relax. (Uncountable noun)
  • There are lots of people in the queue today. (Countable)
  • Oh my, you have spent lots of money on clothes! (Uncountable)
  • I have lots of questions(Countable)
She has a lot of money = She has lots of money

Much vs. Many

Much and Many are used to express that there is a large quantity of something.
Much and Many are used in negative sentences and questions.
Many is used with countable nouns
Much is used with uncountable nouns.
  • I don't have many CD's in my collection. (Countable noun)
  • They don't have much money to buy a present. (Uncountable noun)
  • How many brothers do you have? (Countable noun)
  • Is there much milk in the fridge? (Uncountable noun)
Note: we almost never use Much and Many in positive sentences, we almost always use a lot of or lots of.
I have much money. (Incorrect because the sentence is positive / affirmative)
I have a lot of money. (Correct)
With the word "times" we use many times more than a lot of times / lots of times. It sometimes means frequently or often.
  • That is my favourite book. I've read it many times.
  • Don't worry, I've done this many times.
  • We have stayed at this hotel many times over the years.

Few vs. Little

We use Few and Little to suggest a small quantity.
Few is used with countable nouns
Little is used with uncountable nouns.
  • There are only a few days left until Christmas. (Countable noun)
  • There is little hope of finding your wallet. (Uncountable noun)
While Few and Little usually have positive meanings, very few and very little have negative meanings.
  • He is sad because he has very few friends(Countable noun)
  • They have very little knowledge about politics. (Uncountable noun)

Summary:

InterrogativeNegativeAffirmative
How many books are there?
There aren't many.
There are a lot.
There are a lot of books.
There are lots of books.
There are many books (formal)
How much money have you got?
I haven't got much.
I've got a lot.
I've got a lot of money.
I've got lots of money.
I have got much money (formal)

Exercises on much and many

Exercises on much, many and a lot 

Exercises on much, many, a lot and a few

Exercises on some, any, much, many, a lot of a little and a few

Exercise on much, many or a lot
See also "countable and uncountable nouns"
See also " a little and a few"

ESL test for elementary level students


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