Quantifiers: much | many | lot

Questions
Overview

Main use:

Usually much, many and a lot of use the following logic:

positive
phrase
negative or question
phrase
countable nouns a lot of (books)
lots of (books)
many (books)
uncountable nouns a lot of (water)
lots of (water)
much (water)

Other uses:

  • With too, so and as,'much' and 'many' can be used with positive phrases:
    • I drank too much beer. Hiccup.
    • I miss my family so much.
    • Read as many books as possible.
  • A lot of and lots of can also be used in question and negative phrases.

Notes:

  • a lot of is flexible and can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns while also working with all sentence types. So, why not always use 'a lot of'? It is relatively informal and may not be optimal for academic and professional writing.
  • a lot of and lots of have the same meaning. The term 'lots of' is probably more informal.
Further learning
Description Author Language
Quick overview of when to use much, many and lot of. Also, tips on formal vs. in formal variations. K Englisher
A guide to using 'much', 'many', 'how much' and 'how many'. EF English