Many or Much?

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Many or Much?

What is the difference between "many" and "much"?
  • Use "many" with a plural noun. For example:
    • Do you have many coins?
    • ("Coins" is a plural noun.)
  • Use "much" with a singular noun. For example:
    • Do you have much money?
    • ("Money" is a singular noun.)
    many or much?

    Click on the Two Correct Sentences
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    More about "Much" and "Many"

    The words "much" and "many" both mean "a lot of." As a result, they are sometimes confused.

    Much

    The word "much" is used with a singular noun. For example:
    • How much money does one man need?
    • ("Money" is a singular noun.)
    • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
    • ("Wood" is a singular noun.)
    • People don't understand how much time and work it takes to make somebody laugh. (Actor Marlon Wayans)
    • ("Time" and "work" are both singular nouns.)

    Many

    The word "many" is used with a plural noun. For example:
    • It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. (Founding Father of the United States Benjamin Franklin)
    • ("Deeds" is a plural noun.)
    • Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. (Businesswoman Mary Kay Ash)
    • ("People" is a plural noun.)
    • A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. (Naturalist John Burroughs)
    • ("Times" is a plural noun.)

    "Much" and "Many" Tend to Be Used with Questions or Negative Clauses

    The words "much" and "many" tend to be used in questions or negative clauses. For example:
    • Will you need much help?
    • (Question)
    • You will not need much time.
    • (Negative clause)
    • How many cats are there?
    • (Question)
    • You do not have many positive traits.
    • (Negative clause)

    "Much" and "Many" in Positive Clauses

    When used in positive clauses, the words "much" and "many" tend to be used with terms like "as," "so," and "too." For example:
    • You have as many issues as I do.
    • You have so many faults.
    • You have too many problems to list.
    • Please bring me as much cheese as you can carry.
    • I have so much cheese.
    • If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done. (Martial artist Bruce Lee)
    It is possible to see "much" and "many" used in positive clauses without terms like "as," "so," and "too," but most native English speakers will naturally choose "a lot of" or "lots of" instead of "much" and "many" in those circumstances. For example:
    • You have lots of issues.
    • You have a lot of issues.
    • That is lots of cheese.
    • That is a lot of cheese.
    Read more about "a lot."

    "Much" and "Many" Are Indefinite Determiners

    When used to modify a noun, the words "much" and "many" are classified as indefinite determiners. Other common indefinite determiners are "each," "any," "few," "most," "several," and "some."

    Read more about indefinite determiners.

    Learn about Countable and Non-Countable Nouns

    Nouns with a plural form are called countable nouns. Therefore, "many" is used with countable nouns (when they're plural). Countable nouns contrast with non-countable nouns. Non-countable nouns do not have a plural form. Therefore, "much" is used with non-countable nouns.

    Read more about countable nouns.
    Read more about non-countable nouns.
    Interactive Exercise
    Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What does singular mean> What does plural mean? What are countable nouns? What are indefinite adjectives? What are non-countable nouns? List of easily confused words