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Stop Saying "Many" and Learn These Quantifiers to Use Instead

It's common for English learners to overuse one particular word that they are comfortable with, and in the case of describing a large quantity, that overused word is "many". This lesson will help you expand your vocabulary by learning different quantifiers to describe a large quantity instead of "many".

The phrases "a lot of" and "lots of" are probably the best substitute for "many" because they are more flexible than "many" and work with both countable and uncountable nouns, whereas "many" only works with countable nouns:

  • Many chairs (correct - "chairs" is a countable noun)

  • Many furniture (incorrect - "furniture" is an uncountable noun)

  • A lot of chairs / Lots of chairs (correct - they can be used with countable nouns like "chairs")

  • A lot of furniture / Lots of furniture (correct - they can be used with uncountable nouns like "furniture")


A lot of furniture in a room

However, there is a wide range of words and phrases that you can use to describe a large quantity other than "many", "lots of", and "a lot of". The words and phrases below are organized from the strongest at the top (myriad/countless) which describe the largest quantity, to the softest at the bottom (plenty). However, all of these words mean that the quantity is high.

It's important to note that while some quantifiers are easy to use because they work with both countable nouns (ex. chairs) and uncountable nouns (ex. furniture), other quantifiers only work with one type. In this lesson, I've indicated what type of noun each quantifier can work with. If I wrote only "+C", this means the quantifier can only be used with plural countable nouns like the word "many". On the other hand, if I wrote "+U" it means the quantifier can only be used with uncountable nouns like "much". Finally, if I wrote "+C/U" it means the quantifier is flexible and can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns like "a lot of".

Countless/A myriad of + C

  • She is very successful. She has earned countless awards in her 30 year career.

A ton of/Tons of + C/U

  • I'll be home late tonight. I have a ton of work to do.

A load of/Loads of + C/U

  • We've received loads of cards in the mail. Everyone is showing their support.

A great deal of + U

  • He's rich because of his parents. A great deal of his money comes from an inheritance.

A whole bunch of + C/U

  • I have to prepare for our party. A whole bunch of people are coming here tonight.

A large number of + C / A large quantity of + C / A large amount of + U

  • We're an international company. We operate in a large number of countries all over the world.

Numerous + C

  • Numerous cars have been stolen in the area this year.

Several + C

  • Several political experts believe that President will get re-elected.

Plenty of + C/U (***this one is related to the quantity generally being more than enough)

  • Let's get something to eat. We have plenty of time until the plane leaves. (we have more than enough time)

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Practice

Rewrite these sentences using the word in brackets instead of "many" or "a lot of":

  1. I need to hire professional movers. I have many items to move to my new house. (a ton of)

  2. Eat some more. We have a lot of food. (plenty of)

  3. He's really bad at his job. He's made many big mistakes so we have to fire him. (numerous)

  4. I've bought many lottery tickets over the years but I've never won (a myriad of)

  5. You should buy her book. It has a lot of good information on parenting. (a whole bunch of)

  6. Many customers have complained about the long lineups at our stores (several)

  7. His job is causing him lots of stress (a great deal of)

  8. Lots of time was wasted on the project. (a large amount of)

  9. Many people work from home nowadays (Loads of)

Answers

  1. I need to hire professional movers. I have a ton of items to move to my new house.

  2. Eat some more. We have plenty of food.

  3. He's really bad at his job. He's made numerous big mistakes so we have to fire him.

  4. I've bought a myriad of lottery tickets over the years but I've never won.

  5. You should buy her book. It has a whole bunch of good information on parenting.

  6. Several customers have complained about the long lineups at our stores

  7. His job is causing him a great deal of stress.

  8. A large amount of time was wasted on the project.

  9. Loads of people work from home nowadays.

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