Quantities and volumes can be confusing in English. Some nouns can be counted as individual items, while others cannot. There is a large amount of shade during the late evening, and there are several shades of orange and gold in the sky during these times. In this case, the same word is used for two different nouns. One of these nouns is countable, but the other is uncountable. You can count shades of the color red on a color chart. You could conceivably count shadows on the ground, but you cannot count the shade within those shadows. There are many of one, and there is much of the other. You can see why this confuses even experienced writers.
In this article, I will compare much vs. many. I will demonstrate the proper use of each word with example sentences and explanation. Plus, at the end, I will reveal a useful trick to help you decide whether to use much or many in your own writing.
The word many originated from Old English manig, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch menig and German manch. The word much originated from Middle English: shortened from muchel, from Old English micel.
Much as adjective:
I didn't get much sleep that night.
I'm not much of a gardener.
Many as adjective:
The word many is also used as an adjective in English language where it refers to a large number of countable nouns. Nouns that are countable include airplanes, dimensions of reality, fastballs, princesses, victories, etc.
Many people agreed with her statement.
I am larger, better than I thought; / I did not know I held so much goodness. [“Song of the Open Road,” Walt Whitman]
Many or much:
Many and much are adjectives that describe the amount of something. Many is used for quantifiable nouns, like suns. Much is used for unquantifiable nouns, like sunlight. Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on context. Be mindful of how you use these nouns in your writing, because whether you choose many or much depends on how you use the noun in question. If you can count a specific number of the noun, use many. If you can’t use a number to describe the noun, choose much instead. Since much and unquantifiable both contain the letter U, it’s easy to remember when to use much.