Business Writing

Much and many

The words “much” and “many” regularly cause problems for non-native English speakers. They even cause problems for native speakers.

Once you know the rules, they’re quite easy to use correctly. In the next tip I’ll share a table with you which will also help.

But first …

The usage of “much” and “many” is related to two types of nouns:

  • Countable nouns (sometimes called count nouns)
  • Uncountable nouns (sometimes called mass nouns)

Countable Nouns

Most nouns name things that occur either by themselves, or in numbers. When there is more than one of them you need to use the plural form. With countable nouns we use “many”.

  • I like having a great many books at home so that I always have something to read.
  • There are many dogs in Prague.
  • Many people here like to catch the Metro because it is fast and regular.
  • How many chairs do we need to have in the room for the meeting?

Uncountable Nouns

These nouns refer to things that have mass, not number. You can’t use numbers with them. And they don’t have a plural form. With uncountable nouns we use “much”.

  • Much rice is grown in countries with tropical climates.
  • I don’t have much luck when it comes to lotteries (mainly because I don’t buy tickets!)
  • There’s often too much traffic on the roads so I prefer to use public transport.
  • She doesn’t have much money.