Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of October 10, 1997
Much and Many
There are many people here.
You drank many glasses of wine last night.
You drank too many glasses of wine last night.
You didn't drink many glasses of wine last night.
You didn't drink too many glasses of wine last night.
There is much discussion about that topic.
I had much wine last night.
I had too much wine last night.
I didn't have much wine last night.
I didn't have too much wine last night.
Like "less&fewer", "much&many" describe quantities of things. Proper usage: "many" for discrete objects, such as people or glasses, or "much" for a continuum of something such as discussion or wine.
"Too" is used as an amplifier to suggest that something is beyond the normally expected limits or is extreme. In the case of wine, if I drank much wine, then I got drunk, but if I drank too much wine, then I was very drunk, and I feel terrible today.
"Not much" means "a little". "Not many" means "a few". "Not too much" means "some", but not beyond the expected limit. "Not too many" means "several", but no more than usual.
1. I have many things to do.
2. I have much to do.
3. One can't have too much fun (extreme case).
4. But one can have too many problems (extreme case).
5. "Are there many samples to be tested?" "No, not many (a few)." or... "No, not too many (several)."
6. "Would you like some coffee?" "Yes, but please not too much (some). I'm sensitive to caffeine." or...
"Yes, but please not much (only a little). I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine."
The thermo exam was quite near-o,
And he thought everything was quite clear-o;
"Why study this junk I'm sure I won't flunk."
But they gave him an Absolute Zero.
- K.R. Devicci
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Created May 6, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.