Using “much” or “a lot of” with Count and Non-Count Nouns

The complications of learning English as a Second Language can make students sigh, throw their arms in the air in despair and scream! There are sometimes, however, small clues that can make the language much easier. If they follow the simple suggestion explained in this article, then perhaps they will feel more confident about their speech.

What are count and non-count nouns?

A count noun is one that can be counted. It can be made plural.


girl – girls  boy – boys

woman – women  man – men


A non-count noun can’t be counted. It has no plural form.


sunshine      coffee      information         music

Using “much”

“Much” is often used in negative sentences and in questions. (No problem!)


Do you have much homework?       No, I don’t have much homework.

Do you have much time?               No, I don’t have much time.

Unfortunately “much” is not used in a positive sentence. BUT, here’s a good trick!

Learn to use “a lot” or “a lot of” instead of “much”.

You can use “a lot” or “a lot of” in positive sentences, negative sentences or questions.

SO, you don’t need to use “much” at all.


Do you have a lot of homework?    No, I don’t have a lot of homework.

Yes, I have a lot of homework.

Do you have a lot of time?             No, I don’t have a lot of time.

Yes, I have lots of (a lot of) time.

Do you watch TV a lot?                  No, I don’t watch TV a lot.

Yes, I watch a lot of TV.

We suggest that you introduce “much” to the students so they will be familiar with its meaning when they hear it used, and understand the basic rules for using it. The good part is that they don’t need to use it themselves. They will always be correct if they use “a lot” or “a lot of”.

See Also:

Successful ESL

Learning English with Laughter

Students using our curriculum learn their grammar.

About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page:
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