Much vs Many

I have a feeling that I have blogged this before, but it still bugs me. How is it so difficult for kids to differentiate between how many and how much? I do not recall EVER having an issue. But I have been a grammar geek from birth, so it doesn’t count. Many is for something easily quantifiable, and much is for something like sugar or flour that’s made up of an infinite number of small teeny weeny parts.

At what age does this click in to place??

As a side note, one of the teens was talking about his weekend plans over the supper table, said “Friend X, Y and me are going….” – looked at me, rolled his eyes, and rephrased “Friend X, Y and I are going…” and I was so proud. Even if there was no Oxford comma ;) .

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  1. tesyaa says:

    How about “less” and “fewer”? “There were less people in shul this week than last week” – uh uh, you mean fewer! Here’s an example of the proper use of less: “this recipe uses less flour than the other recipe”.

    If numbers are involved, it’s “fewer”, not “less”.

    OK, I’m done (I mean I am finished).

  2. Batya says:

    Hadassa, I hate to break it to you, but things will only get worse, once these kids are the teachers and don’t know proper English

  3. i thought the much and many thing with my kids was because they are being raised in israel and so, depsite two english speaking parents, lots of english books, tv shows, computer games and the like, they still make certain ‘errors’. but now….if american kids are doing it in america, well, at least i’m glad to know my kids are right up there with them.

  4. Risa Tzohar says:

    When I taught 8th grade girls we had a unit about how much and how many. The way I explained it was that if you can count it: one egg, two eggs, three eggs etc. then it’s how many. If you have to measure it: a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of oil, then it’s how much. I wrote the ingredients for brownies on the board and to get the recipe they had to ask me how much or how many. Then they went home to make the brownies.
    A good time was had by all.
    Of all the grammar I taught, this was one of the easier points (for non-native speakers).

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