This post looks at some, any, much, many, lots of and a lot of. These words can be confusing for learners.
Much and many
These are used in negative sentences and questions, for example:
There were not many people on the beach. (not = negative in this sentence)
There was not much food at the party.
They are also used for questions:
Were there many people on the beach?
Was there much food at the party.
The difference between much and many is:
MANY describes ‘countable nouns’. These are nouns that we can count and that have a plural. For example,
Many cars, sheep, children, films, thoughts, books, jobs.
How many times have you seen Star Wars at the cinema? Twenty?
No, not that many. Around ten times.
MUCH describes ‘uncountable nouns’. These are nouns in English that do not have a plural. We cannot count them. For example,
Much sleep, information, water, bread, light, noise, air, milk.
I didn’t get much sleep last night because my room was too hot.
How much milk is there in the fridge. I forgot to buy some earlier. Do we need to go to the shop?
Some and any
ANY is used in questions and negatives. It can be used with countable and uncountable nouns.
There isn’t any bread in the cupboard.
Have you got any good books I can borrow?
Any there any houses for sale in your area?
He said he couldn’t see any people on the beach.
Some is also used with both countable and uncountable nouns. We usually use ‘some’ in positive sentences, for example,
Would you like some tea? Or would you prefer coffee?
I had some fish for lunch. I got it from the new supermarket in the high street. It wasn’t very good.
Can you help me? I need some information.
We have bought you some flowers.
Lot of/lots of are also used with countable and uncountable nouns. They mean the same. They are similar to ‘much’.
There were lots of people at the party.
There were a lot of people at the party. We had to stand in the kitchen all night.
He didn’t have a lot of time to exercise in the evenings so he goes to the gym every morning before work.
I’ve got lots of work to finish before I can go home.
Uncountable nouns cannot have a/an. To talk about amounts we use:
Water – a glass of/a bottle of/a drop of
Bread – a slice of/a loaf of/a basket of
Rice – a bag of/a kilo of/a plate of
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