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A lot / much / many / little / few

Quantifiers
Practice with the exercises:
Exercise 1

1. A lot, much, many, little, few...

These words are called quantifiers and help us express an indeterminate amount of something. We will use one quantifier or another depending on the amount (higher or lower) and the type of noun (countable or uncountable).

There are a lot of cherries.
It's too much for me.

2. How do we use a lot, much, many, little, few...?

  • A LOT (OF) / LOTS (OF)

    They are used to express a large number (countable nouns) or a large amount of something (uncountable nouns). They are usually used in affirmative sentences.

    A LOT OF / LOTS OF precede a noun.
    Sara has got a lot of books.
    A LOT / LOTS don't precede a noun.
    How much soup do you want? A lot.

    Lots is more informal than a lot.

  • PLENTY (OF)

    It is used to express that there is enough or more than enough of something. It is used in affirmative sentences.

    I've got plenty of music to take to the party.
    Don't bring food, we have plenty.
  • MANY

    It is used to express that there is a large number of something; therefore, it goes before plural countable nouns. It is mainly used in negative and interrogative sentences, although it can be used in affirmative sentences in less colloquial language.

    Do you have many hobbies?
    There aren't many tomatoes left.

    In affirmative sentences, many can be used when it's preceded by the particles too and so. Too many is used to express that there's more than is acceptable. So many is used to emphasize how large an amount is.

    There are too many cars in the cities.
    I didn't know you had acted in so many films.
  • MUCH

    It is used to express that there is a large amount of something, therefore, it goes before uncountable nouns. It is used in negative and interrogative sentences.

    We haven't got much time.
    Did you pay much for this trench coat?

    Much can be used in affirmative sentences when preceded by the particles too and so. Too much is used to express that there's more than is acceptable. So much is used to emphasize how large an amount is.

    There is too much salt.
    I love you so much!
  • (A) FEW

    It is used in affirmative sentences to express a small number of something. It goes before plural countable nouns, but it doesn't precede a noun when we already know what we are referring to.

    A FEW gives a positive meaning to the phrase.
    There are a few chocolates to give to the guests.
    FEW gives a negative meaning to the phrase.
    I have few chocolates to give to the guests.
  • (A) LITTLE 

    It is used in affirmative sentences to express a small amount of something. It goes before uncountable nouns, but it doesn't precede a noun when we already know what we are referring to.

    A LITTLE gives a positive meaning to the phrase.
    He speaks a little French.
    LITTLE gives a negative meaning to the phrase.
    He speaks little French.

Remember!

  Affirmative Negative Interrogative
COUNTABLE
A lot (of) / Lots (of)
A lot (of) / Lots (of)
A lot (of) / lots (of)
Plenty (of)
- -
Many
Many
Many
A few
-
A few
Few
- -
UNCOUNTABLE
A lot (of) / Lots (of)
A lot (of) / Lots (of)
A lot (of) / lots (of)
Plenty (of)
- -
-
Much
Much
A little
-
A little
Little
- -

 

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