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QUANTIFIERS: MUCH-MANY & LITTLE-FEW


  • We use "much" and "little" with uncount nouns to talk about a quantity of something.
  • We use "many" and "few" with plural nouns to talk about a number of people or things.
  • We use "much" in negative sentences and questions, and "a lot of" or "plenty of" rather than "much" in     affirmative sentences.
  • We use "more" and "less" with uncount nouns, and "more" and "fewer" with plural count nouns.
  • 1. We use "much" to talk about a large quantity of something, and "little" to talk about a small quantity of something. We only use "much" and "little" with uncount nouns.

    I haven't got much time.

    We've made little progress.

    2. We use "many" to talk about a large number of people or things, and "few" to talk about a small number of people or things. We can only use "many" and "few" with plural count nouns.

    He wrote many novels.

    There were few visitors to our house.

    3. We normally use "much" in negative sentences and questions.

    He did not speak much English.

    Why haven't I given much attention to this problem?

    In affirmative sentences we do not use "much", we use "a lot of", "lots of", or "plenty of" instead. We can use them with both uncount nouns and plural nouns.

    He demanded a lot of attention.

    I make a lot of mistakes.

    They spent lots of time on the project.

    He remembered a large room with lots of windows.

    I've got plenty of money.

    There are always plenty of jobs to be done.

    Note that we can use "so much" and "too much" in affirmative sentences.

    She spends so much time here.

    There is too much chance of error.

    4. We use "so much" to emphasize that a large quantity of something is involved.

    I have so much work to do.

    They have so much money and we have so little.

    We use "too much" and "too many" to say that the quantity of something, or the number of people or things, is larger than is reasonable or necessary.

    He has too much work.

    Too many people still smoke.

    We use "very many" to emphasize that a large number of people or things are involved.

    Very many old people live alone.

    Note that "very much" is used with nouns and verbs.

    There isn't very much time.

    I liked it very much.

    5. We use "few" and "little" to emphasize that only a small quantity of something or a small number of people or things are involved. They can be used with "very" for greater emphasis.

    The town has few monuments.

    I have little time for anything but work.

    Very few cars had reversing lights.

    I had very little money left.

    Note that "a few" and "a little" just indicate that a quantity or number is small.

    He spread a little honey on a slice of bread.

    I usually do a few jobs for him in the house.

    6. We use "more" with uncount nouns and plural count nouns to refer to a quantity of something or a number of people or things that is greater than another quantity or number.

    His visit might do more harm than good.

    He does more hours than I do.

    We use "less" with uncount nouns to refer to an amount of something that is smaller than another amount.

    The poor have less access to education.

    This machinery uses less energy.

    We use "fewer", in English, with plural nouns to refer to a number of people or things that is smaller than another number.

    There are fewer trees here.

    They have sold fewer computers this year.


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