Much - Many - Lot - Few

English Grammar Rules

We use these words as quantifiers that come at the start of noun phrases and they tell us something about quantity.

A lot of vs. Lots of

A lot of and lots of are used to express that there is a large quantity of something.

We use a lot of in positive sentences, negative sentences and questions. This expression can be used with countable or uncountable nouns.

  • There are a lot of dogs in the street. (Countable noun)
  • I have a lot of time to answer your questions. (Uncountable noun)
  • I saw a lot of people waiting in the queue. (Countable)
  • We did have a lot of fun, didn't we? (Uncountable)

We use lots of in positive and negative sentences, however it is more informal. It can be used with countable or uncountable nouns, and occasionally in questions.

  • We have lots of time to catch the plane, lets relax. (Uncountable noun)
  • There are lots of people in the queue today. (Countable)
  • Oh my, you have spent lots of money on clothes! (Uncountable)
  • I have lots of questions. (Countable)

She has a lot of money = She has lots of money

Much vs. Many

Much and Many are used to express that there is a large quantity of something.

Much and Many are used in negative sentences and questions.
Many is used with countable nouns
Much is used with uncountable nouns.

  • I don't have many CD's in my collection. (Countable noun)
  • They don't have much money to buy a present. (Uncountable noun)
  • How many brothers do you have? (Countable noun)
  • Is there much milk in the fridge? (Uncountable noun)

Note: we almost never use Much and Many in positive sentences, we almost always use a lot of or lots of.

I have much money. (Incorrect because the sentence is positive / affirmative)
I have a lot of money. (Correct)

With the word "times" we use many times more than a lot of times / lots of times. It sometimes means frequently or often.

  • That is my favourite book. I've read it many times.
  • Don't worry, I've done this many times.
  • We have stayed at this hotel many times over the years.

Few vs. Little

We use Few and Little to suggest a small quantity.
Few is used with countable nouns
Little is used with uncountable nouns.

  • There are only a few days left until Christmas. (Countable noun)
  • There is little hope of finding your wallet. (Uncountable noun)

While Few and Little usually have positive meanings, very few and very little have negative meanings.

  • He is sad because he has very few friends. (Countable noun)
  • They have very little knowledge about politics. (Uncountable noun)

Next activity

Would you like to practice the difference between these quantifiers? Try our Much, Many, Lot, Few Game

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Last Updated: 02 December 2014
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