Much/Many (Part 1) - Podcast Episode 13

Audio Transcript:
Welcome to episode 13 of The English Sessions. Much and Many Part 1. I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.
You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website, as you listen to this episode.

Listen for these words today:

Mug - a ‘mug’ is a type of cup. A mug often has a handle, and is often ceramic. I drink coffee from a mug everyday.

Offer - an amount of money that someone is willing to pay for something

Supernatural - something that is ‘supernatural’ cannot be explained by scientific understanding or the laws of nature

Tip of the iceberg - “Tip of the iceberg” is an expression for the small, noticeable part of something that is much bigger. Today, the ‘tip of the iceberg’ is the information that is just the beginning of a longer explanation.

Vendor - a person who is selling something, typically someone on the streets or at a market.

This episode is a request from a listener, Ania, in Poland. Thank you Ania. It’s a great topic for an episode.

There are so many superstitions that humans believe in. A superstition is a belief that many people have, that is not really based on science. Often, it is a belief in something supernatural, or a belief that something you do will cause good luck or bad luck. In some cultures, including mine, the number “13” is considered bad luck. In fact, some buildings here will not a 13th floor because of this superstition ( Many people avoid the number 13. I don’t believe in this superstition very much, so here is episode 13. I hope it doesn’t bring me or you bad luck.

Okay, did you hear the words ‘much’ and ‘many’? I said, “Many people have…” Many people have superstitions. Let’s start with the word ‘many’. “Many” comes before plural nouns that are countable. Remember, ‘countable’ nouns are nouns that can be singular, just 1, or plural, more than one. I have one mug, I have two mugs. “mugs” is countable. “People” IS countable, it is a plural noun. Listen to Episode 12 if you are confused about the word ‘people’. “Many people” is correct because “people” is a plural, countable noun. If you say “many people”, it is like saying “a lot” of people.

So, is it correct to say, “much people”? No. “Much” is supposed to come before nouns that you do NOT count. For example, ‘water’. “Water” is a word that you typically do not count in English. So, you should say, “much water”, as in, “There is so much water in the ocean!”. This is like saying there is a lot of water in the ocean! That’s right, you can use “a lot” before nouns you can count, and nouns that you do not count.

So, “many” before countable nouns and “much” before nouns that you do not count. End of story, right? No my friends, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to say about “much” and “many”.

First, remember when I said, “so much”? It is very common to say “so” before “much”. It provides emphasis, and has become pretty standard. One more thing I want to say about “so much”: it does NOT have the same meaning as “too much”. “So much” and “too much” will typically have different meanings. I will do an episode on ‘so much’/‘too much’ in the future. Just remember, they are NOT the same.

Let’s have a conversation. I will paint a word-picture. Journey with me if you will… (cue) The setting is a busy market, pre-COVID19 days, a man is buying some items from a vendor.

Mike: Hello, I have some questions about an item you are selling
Alexa: Okay
Mike: Well, I really like these mugs. How many mugs do you have today?
Alexa: I have five mugs. How many would you like to buy?
Mike: Hmmm, well, I don’t have much money to spend. I will give you $5 for all five mugs.
Alexa: $5?! I’ve had many low offers before, but none as low as that!
Mike: Okay okay, how much does it cost normally?
Alexa: $20 per mug.
Mike: I’ll take two!

— Thank you, Alexa!!! —

Okay, we’re back. Did you hear ‘much’ and ‘many’ in our conversation? “How many mugs?” “Many” is before a countable noun, “mugs”. This is how we can ask about the quantity, in English. “I don’t have much money”. “Much” before a word that we don’t typically count, ‘money’. I don’t have much money, or, in other words, I don’t have a lot of money. “Many low offers”. Again, you can count ‘offers’. 1 offer, two offers. Many offers. Many low offers (yes, you can put an adjective between ‘many’ and ‘offer’, that’s no problem). “How much does it cost?”. This is a very common question in English. You want to know how much money you need to pay, in order to buy the mug. The noun, ‘money’ is not in the question, but it does not need to be. The vendor knows exactly what you’re talking about.

Okay, one more time, ‘many’ before countable nouns, ‘much’ before nouns that you don’t count. There are other ways to use ‘much’ and ‘many’. “Many” can also be a pronoun, for example. “Much” can also be a pronoun, and an adverb as well. That will be in PART 2 of our series on “much” and “many”.


Oh Come All Ye Faithful:

Any questions? Write to me at . Leave a message for me on the website, and I will play it on the podcast. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast so you won’t miss an episode. Visit for more content. Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time, this is Mike signing off.


Popular Posts