Grammar – Much, many or a lot of

Explanation

When to use much, many or a lot of

I have a lot of brothers.

How many?

In this conversation the first person is saying that they have a lot of brothers. This means they have a high number of brothers, but are not saying exactly what the number is. The next person is asking how many? Which means they want to know what the number is.

How much rice do you want with dinner?

A lot, please.

In this conversation the first person is asking if the other person wants a lot of rice, or just a little.

So, we use a lot ofmuch, and many, when we want to talk about a high number of something but not say the actual number.

How to use much, many or a lot of

Choosing whether to use muchmany or a lot of depends on the kind of sentence.

  • If it is affirmative, we use a lot of.

I have a lot of friends

  • If it is negative, we use much or many.

I don’t have many sisters.

  • If it is a question, use much or many.

Do you have many siblings?

  • Use many with countable nouns and much with uncountable 

I don’t have many friends.

I don’t have much rice

This table shows when to use many, much and a lot of.

Type of sentence      Countable noun     Uncountable noun    
Affirmative a lot of a lot of
Negative not many not much
Question many much

For more examples of countable and uncountable nouns, visit the Countable of uncountable page in the vocabulary area.

Quiz

Much, many, a lot of

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