Unit 82. Much, many, little, few, a lot, plenty

Much many few little

We use much and little with uncountable nouns:

much time much luck little energy little money

We use many and few with plural nouns:

many friends many people few cars few countries

A lot (of) lots (of) plenty (of)

We use a lot of / lots of / plenty of with uncountable and plural nouns:

a lot of luck lots of time plenty of money

a lot of people lots of books plenty of ideas

Plenty = more than enough:

  • “Have some more to eat.” “No, thank you. I’ve had plenty.”

  • There’s no need to hurry. We have plenty of time.

    We use much and many mainly in negative sentences and questions:

  • We didn’t spend much money.

  • Do you have many friends?

    In positive sentences it is usually better to use a lot (of). Much is not normally used in positive sentences:

  • We spent a lot of money, (not we spent much money)

  • There has been a lot of rain recently, (not much rain)

    But we use too much and so much in positive sentences:

  • I can’t drink this tea. There’s too much sugar in it.

    Little / a little / few / a few

    Little and few (without a) are negative ideas:

  • Hurry up! There’s little time. (= not much, not enough time)

  • He’s not popular. He has few friends. (= not many, not enough friends)

    We often use very before little and few (very little and very few):

  • There’s very little time.

  • He has very few friends. “A little” and “a few” are more positive ideas. A little / a few = some, a small amount, or a small number:

  • Let’s go and have a cup of coffee. We have a little time before the train leaves. (= some time, enough time to have a drink)

  • “Do.you have any money?” “Yes, a little. Do you want to borrow some?”

  • I enjoy my life here. I have a few friends and we get together, (a few friends = not many but enough to have a good time)

  • “When did you last see Tom?” “A few days ago.” (= some days ago) But “only a little” and “only a few” have a negative meaning:

  • Hurry up! We only have a little time.

  • The town was very small. There were only a few houses.

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