Answering How Much or How Many

Pre-Test

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Examples of questions using “how much” or “how many.”

  • How many books are in the library?
  • How much time do you have before you need to leave?
  • How much water is in the sink?
  • How many people are coming to your party?

Forming an Answer about Quantity

How Many

To answer a question that asks “how many,” use a number or a quantity description with a plural noun. Use many or few with count nouns.

See the examples below.

How many books are in the library?

  • There are 200,000 (two hundred thousand) books in the library.
  • There are many books in the library.
  • There are a lot of books in the library.
  • There are fewer books in the library than in many other libraries.

How many people are coming to your party?

  • I expect 15 to 20 people there.
  • I think many people will come.
  • I think a lot of people will come.
  • Only a few people can come.

Note: “A lot of” can be used with count or non-count nouns. It is a little less formal than many or much but is used often in spoken American English.

Note: “A few” is different than “few.” “Fewer than” is comparative.

  • “A few” means several.
  • “Few” means not many.
  • “Fewer than” compares the quantity of something to something else.
How Much

To answer a question that asks “how much,” use a quantity description with a singular noun. Use much or little with a non-count noun.

See the examples below.

How much time do you have before you need to leave?

  • I have a lot of time still.
    • Note: “Much time” is too formal for this casual question.
  • I have a little time. Is there something you want to talk about?
  • I have 25 minutes until I leave.
    • Note: Instead of using “time,” this answer uses “minutes.” “Minutes” is countable and a number of minutes can be given.

How much water is in the sink?

  • There is not much water in the sink.
  • There is little water in the sink.
    • Note: “not much” and “little” mean the same thing.
  • There is a lot of water in the sink.
  • There are two gallons of water in the sink.

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