How Much vs How Many
How much and how many are phrases that are used with countable and non-countable nouns. People trying to master English language are often confused between how much and how many when they have to use either of the two phrases. However, despite similarities, it is rather easy to understand whether to use how much or how many in a given situation. Let us take a closer look.
We use how many to enquire about the quantity when the nouns in question are countable. For example, take a look at these sentences.
• How many books are there in your bag?
• How many apples are there in a kilogram?
• How many boys are present in the class?
It is clear that one can count the numbers of boys, apples, and books easily and the exact answer can be given specifying the quantity of boys, apples, and books. Many itself means a lot of but if there are not many books in the bag, the answer can either be in the exact number or as not many or just a few to indicate the fact. You see a car in your house, a few cars in a club, but too many cars that you cannot count in traffic jam on a highway. There you make use of too many cars when someone asks how many cars are there on the road.
How much is a phrase that is used with non-countable nouns such as milk, sugar, money, and so on. So, if you are short on sugar, you reply with not much when asked how much sugar you have at home. On the other hand, you can say lots of when someone asks how much money you have in your wallet, and if you have many currency notes inside it. However, in general, when you are not sure about the quantity because it is huge and you feel it cannot be counted, it is better use much.
Much is also to be used when the noun is singular as in the case with money as many is preferred when the noun is in plural as in friends. One can say that it is possible to count money, but then, you count the currency notes and say I have 3500 Euros or 500 dollars and not much money.
What is the difference between How Much and How Many?
• How much is used for nouns that do not have plurals such as money while, for plural nouns such as books, boys, and apples etc., how many is used.
• How much is to be used for non-countable nouns whereas how many is used for countable nouns.
• Both much and many mean lots of but how much is used for things that you cannot count such as sugar, milk etc.
• For friends, it is always how many while for money it is always how much.