lunes, 9 de marzo de 2015

A lot of, many and much. Few and little.

In this post we are going to learn the difference between a lot of, lots of, many and much on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the difference between few and little since it is a very problematic topic for non native speakers of English. I hope my explanation is useful for you.

To speak about large quantities of something we use a lot of, lots of , many and much. All of them mean in Spanish "mucho". So, what's the difference between them? In teh following table you have it summarized:

 As you can see, there are two main differences:
1. A lot of and lots of can be used in affirmatives, interrogatives and negatives while many and many can only be used in negatives and questions
2. A lot of and lots of can be used with countable and uncountable nouns while many is used with countable nouns and much with uncountable nouns.

To speak about small quantities we use few and little and its variations: very few and very little, a few and a little.

The only differencee between these two words, as you can see in the table, is that few is used with countable nouns and little is used with uncountable nouns.

These are the general rules. However, we have to take into account the following notes:

1. We almost never use much and many in positive sentences, we almost always use a lot of or lots of. 
Example: I have much money. (Incorrect because the sentence is positive / affirmative) àI have a lot of money. (Correct)

2. With the word "times" we use many times more than a lot of times / lots of times. It sometimes means frequently or often. Example: That is my favourite book. I've read it many times. 

3. While few and little usually have positive meanings, very few and very little have negative meanings. 
Example: He is sad because he has very few friends. (Countable noun) 
                They have very little knowledge about politics. (Uncountable noun)

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