Grammar chart – much, many, a lot of, a little, a few, no, any, none
Many for countable, much for uncountable in (?) (-)
We use much/many in negative sentences and questions. We use many before plural countable nouns and much before uncountable nouns. We don’t normally use them in affirmative sentences.
- There isn’t much coffee in the jar.
- Were there many people at the party?
How much/how many
We use how many + plural nouns and how much + uncountable nouns to ask about quantity. You can review countable and uncountable nouns here.
- How many books did you read last semester?
- How much coffee do you drink every day?
We can also say How much is it? to ask about the price of an item.
- ‘How much is it?’ ‘It’s 43 pounds.’
- ‘How much are the trousers?’ ‘They’re 58 pounds.’
A lot (of)
Before both countable and uncountable
We use a lot of before both plural countable and uncountable nouns to talk about big quantity. We normally use a lot of in positive sentences.
- She spends a lot of time watching TV.
- We had lots of good moments together.
We can say quite a lot of to talk about medium quantity.
- With my new job, I have quite a lot of free time.
It is also possible to use a lot of in negative sentences and questions.
- Do you eat a lot of sugar?
- I don’t read a lot of books.
Of before noun;
of at the end of sentence
We must always use a lot of including of before a noun. However, we can use a lot (without of) at the end of a sentence or in short answers.
- ‘How many beers did you have?’ ‘I don’t know; I had a lot.’
- I like her a lot.
- ‘How much coffee did you have?’ ‘A lot.’
A few/a little
A few for countable; a little for uncountable
We use a few before plural countable nouns and a little before uncountable nouns in affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences to talk about small quantity.
- I have to do a few things this afternoon.
- I always put a little milk in my tea.
Not many, not much
We can also use not many + plural countable or not much + uncountable nouns. The meaning is similar.
- I don’t have to do many things this afternoon.
- I don’t put much milk in my tea.
When we want to talk about zero quantity, we can use no + noun or not…any + noun. The meaning is the same.
- I have no time today.
- I don’t have any time today.
In short answers we use none.
- ‘How much time do you have?’ ‘None.’