much, many, a lot etc

  • In an informal style, we use much and many mostly in negative
    sentences and questions, and after so, as and too. In affirmative sentences (except after so, as and too), we use other words and expressions. Compare:
      How much money have you got?
      I’ve got plenty. (NOT I’ve got much.)
      I haven’t got many pop records.
      I’ve got a lot of jazz records.
      (NOT USUALLY /Vo got many jazz records-.)
      You make too many mistakes.
      You make lots of mistakes.
      (NOT USUALLY You make many mistakes.)
  • We use a lot of and lots of mostly in an informal style. They are both used before uncountable (singular) and plural nouns, and before pronouns. When a lot of is used with a plural subject, the verb is plural; when lots of is used with a singular subject, the verb is singular.
      [ a lot of/lots of + singular subject and verb] A lot of time is needed to learn a language.
      There’s lots of coffee in the pot. (NOT There are lots of coffee . . .)
      a lot of/lots of + plural subject and verb
      A lot of my friends think there’s going to be a war.
      Lots of people live in the country and work in London.
      A lot of us would like to change our jobs.

    We use a lot of and lots of before a noun or pronoun; we use a lot/lots without of alone, when there is no noun or pronoun. Compare:

      She s lost a lot of weight (not . . . a lot weight )
      She’s lost a lot. (not . . . a lot of)
  • A lot (of) and lots (of) are rather informal. In a more formal style we use other expressions, like a great deal (of) (+ singular), a large number (of) (+ plural), or plenty (of) (+ singular or plural).
      Mr Lucas has spent a great deal of time in the Far East.
      We have a large number of problems to solve.
      Thirty years ago there were plenty of jobs; now there are very few.
      In a formal style, we can also use much and many in affirmative sentences.
      There has been much research into the causes of cancer.
      Many scientists believe . . .