We’ve talked on the blog before about when to use fewer vs. less, which are both opposites of the word more. Another similar set (group) of words are many and much. Many and much are used in very similar circumstances (instances, situations) to fewer and less. Many and much are used with countable and uncountable nouns, respectively.
For a quick refresher on countable and uncountable nouns, an explainer on when to use many and much, as well as a short quiz, keep reading!
Countable vs. Uncountable Nouns, and Many and Much
Whether a noun is countable or uncountable has to do with (is concerned with) if something in groups can be counted or not.
Things like peas, songs, and plants are countable nouns, since you can count how many there are in a group. You can sit down and count how many peas are in a bag, how many songs are in a playlist, or how many plants your friend has in their apartment. When you are dealing with (using) countable nouns, you use the word many.
There are some things in groups, though, that can’t be counted so easily. These things are usually abstract (not concrete) ideas or concepts, such as time, money, or wine. You can’t sit down and count how much time or wine unless you put it “in” something. One thing to be careful of is money. While you can count how much money you have in your wallet, the idea of money is more abstract. For things like this, we use the word much.
You, of course, can count time, but only after you put it into minutes, days, months, etc. Wine can also be counted, but only after you put it into glasses, bottles, liters, etc.
- How many apples did you buy?
- Were there many people at the rally?
- How many songs are on that CD?
- She bought many plants at the farmer’s market.
- How much money do they pay you?
- How much wine should we bring tonight?
- We don’t have much time. We need to get going!
- There isn’t much juice left at home. We should buy some more.
Ready to test what you’ve learned about many and much? Try out the following quiz and test your knowledge!
- How _____ cats does she have?
- Did you make _____ money babysitting?
- Do you have ______ luggage?
- How _____ tomatoes do you need for the recipe?
- Were there _____ people at the concert?
- We don’t have _____ milk left. Can you go buy more?
- I didn’t have too _____ coffee today.
- She has _____ books in her apartment.
- How _____ toppings would you like on your pizza?
- There isn’t _____ time left before the movie starts.
- Answers: 1. many, 2. much, 3. much, 4. many, 5. many, 6. much, 7. much, 8. many, 9. many, 10. much
How many did you get right? Can you think of any other examples of when to use many and much? Let us know in the comments below!
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Check out these other popular blogs: Music Idioms in English, Academic English – The Dos and Don’ts, Question Words in English, or tips for A or An: The Rules and Exceptions in English!
Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and is likes making more time for things she enjoys. What do you wish you had more time for?
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