Beautiful penmanship and poetic writing can be ruined by jarring grammatical errors. For today’s #WriteWellWednesday we will look at the differences between many and much (or few and little).
Many and few indicate quantity. Use of this word implies that you could go off and count these items if you wanted to. For example, I could go and make a list of all the colours of ink I’d like to try, and then I could replace the word many with a specific number, like 56. The word for what you are counting is used in its plural form.
There are many colours of ink I’d like to try.
Much and little refer to things that are not possible to count. The object doesn’t normally have a plural, (with the exception of shorthands like “inks” for pots of ink or kinds of ink, or “waters” for glasses of water).
I could never use that much ink.
In the second example, I’m referring to an uncountable portion of ink, rather than a certain number of pots of ink or a specific number of millilitres of ink.
To check if it’s many/few or much/little, see if you can make a sensible how many?question from your sentence. If you can, it’s a many/few situation. Be careful not to leave out important words like grains (of rice or sand), or degrees (temperature), or litres (volume), or pieces (of jewellery or furniture).
How many colours of ink would you like to try?
Logical. Many or few inks.
How many ink could you use?
Nonsense. The question should be How much?. Much or little ink.