When we use much or many before articles (a/an, the), demonstratives (this, that), possessives (my, your) or pronouns (him, them), we need to use of:
How much of this book is fact and how much is fiction?
Claude, the seventeenth-century French painter, spent much of his life in Italy.
Unfortunately, not many of the photographers were there.
How many of them can dance, sing and act?
This much, that much
When we are talking to someone face-to-face, we can use this much and that much with a hand gesture to indicate quantity:
[the speaker indicates a small amount with his fingers]
I only had thatmuch cake.
A lot of, lots of with a noun
We use a lot of and lots of in informal styles. Lots of is more informal than a lot of. A lot of and lots of can both be used with plural countable nouns and with singular uncountable nouns for affirmatives, negatives, and questions:
We’ve got lots of things to do.
That’s a lot of money.
There weren’t a lot of choices.
Can you hurry up? I don’t have a lot of time.
Are there a lot of good players at your tennis club?
When we use much and many in negative questions, we are usually expecting that a large quantity of something isn’t there. When we use a lot of and lots of in negative questions, we are usually expecting a large quantity of something.
Haven’t they sold many tickets?
(No, they haven’t.)
The speaker expects that they have sold a small quantity of tickets.
Haven’t they sold a lot of tickets? (or lots of)
(Yes, they have.)
The speaker expects that they have sold a large quantity of tickets.
Isn’t there much food left?
(No, there isn’t.)
The speaker expects that there is a small quantity of food left.
Isn’t there a lot of food left? (or lots of)
(Yes, there is.)
The speaker expects that there is a large quantity of food left.
Much, many, a lot, lots: without a noun
We usually leave out the noun after much, many and a lot, lots when the noun is obvious:
Would you like some cheese?
Yes please but nottoo much. (not too much cheese)
Can you pass me some envelopes?
Howmany? (how many envelopes?)
How many people came?
A lot. (or Lots.)
Much with comparative adjectives and adverbs: much older, much faster
We can use much before comparative adjectives and adverbs to make a stronger comparison:
Sometimes the prices in the local shop are much better than the supermarket’s prices.
I feel much calmer now I know she’s safe. (much calmer than I felt before)
She’s walking much more slowly since her operation. (much more slowly than before)
Too much, too many and so much, so many
Too much, too many with a noun
We often use too before much and many. It means ‘more than necessary’. We can use too much before an uncountable noun and too many before a plural noun, or without a noun when the noun is obvious:
I bought too much food. We had to throw some of it away.
They had a lot of work to do. Too much. (too much work)
There are too many cars on the road. More people should use public transport.
There are 35 children in each class. It’s too many. (too many children)
So much, so many with a noun
We use so rather than very before much and many in affirmative clauses to emphasise a very large quantity of something:
He has so much money!
Not: He has very much money!
There were so many jobs to do.
As much as, as many as
When we want to make comparisons connected with quantity, we use as much as and as many as: