What is the difference between MUCH and MANY?

In English many nouns (things / objects) like pens, books, oranges, etc. are COUNTABLE . We can say 2 pens, 3 books, 5 oranges. With countable nouns we use MANY. How many pens do you have?  Many things we can count are in the plural form and end with an /S/: penS, bookS, orangeS.

But some nouns or things are UNCOUNTABLE. For example, we cannot count things like SAND, HAIR, SUGAR, RICE, etc because there are too many to count. So, in this case, we must say, ‘How much rice would you like?’  It is impossible to count (1+1+3=…) these things because they are too small to count.  In the same way, other nouns like information, time or knowledge or uncountable.

SOLIDS butter rice sand
LIQUIDS milk water oil
GROUPED NOUNS information money food
ABSTRACT NOUNS love happiness knowledge
 (SCHOOL) SUBJECTS maths physics science
MATERIALS wood paper cotton
GASES / ENERGY air oxygen electricity


What about TIME or MONEY? I think you can count them?
No, you can’t count time or money. You can count coins or dollars. You can’t count time but you can count minutes, hours and seconds. In the same way, you can’t count coffee but you can count cups of coffee. For example: How much coffee is is in the bag?   I’d like two cups of coffee, please

dollars / coins money
minutes / hours time
a piece of bread bread
a bowl of rice rice
a cup of coffee coffee
a spoon of sugar sugar
a glass of milk milk
a litre of petrol petrol
a jar of jam jam
a slice of meat meat

How much, how many, a lot of or lots of?

You can use A LOT OF / LOTS OF if you are not sure if something is countable or uncountable.  For example: Yesterday, I had lots of coffee. / Yesterday, I had many cups of coffee.   I ate a lot of meat for lunch.  This is a good trick but you must be careful when making a question.  For example: How much meat did you have for lunch?  Did you have a lot of meat for lunch? How a lot of meat did you have for lunch?

PRACTICE EXERCISE – test your knowledge of much and many with this video

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