much more / many more / far more /a lot more

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Moon Palace, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    Lyon
    French
    Hello to all of you, and best wishes for the New Year :)
    I have been pondering on the distinction betweent the above, and I would like to know if there is a rule that explains why we can say:

    :tick:
    There were a lot more people than expected
    The exercise proved to be much more difficult than we had first thought.
    The novel was far more interesting than the film.
    The essay was much too theoretical.


    But not (or maybe we can, but I personally don't feel at ease with them - the point is to dispel doubts and mistakes )

    There were many more people than expected. :confused:
    Surprisingly, the turnout was high: many more voters turned up in the end. :confused:
    We couldn't go because there was much too much* snow. :cross:
    He left the room because there were far too many smokers :tick: (many too many smokers*:cross:).

    I hope I have not confused foreros too much, but I am myself suddenly confused among all of these, for some obscure reason.
    If some enlightened minds could help me out of this maze, I would be utterly grateful. :)
     
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Moon Palace,

    There were many more people than expected. Just fine.
    Surprisingly, the turnout was high: many more voters turned up in the end. No problem.
    We couldn't go because there was much too much* snow. :cross: It would sound more idiomatic in my area to say 'far too much', but I don't see anything wrong with the original.
    He left the room because there were far too many smokers :tick: Agreed.

    (many too many smokers*:cross:). Sounds awkward and not idiomatic.


    I don't know of any "rules" governing the use of these terms. There are general stylistic preferences and common patterns of usage. Any of your examples are apt to be heard in normal speech in AE, with the exception of 'many too many'.
     
  3. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    Lyon
    French
    Thanks a lot, Cuchu, for clearing up the clouds...
    In fact, you seem to say there is no rule, and that is probably what got me confused: I had a faint impression I could not say 'many too many*', but could not manage to explain why.
    At least now I know natives don't any more than I. But you have helped me get rid of other doubts, and I thank you for this. :)
     
  4. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Speculative explanations:

    many more people/ voters: OK. more is used with adjectives to form comparatives: many more people approximately = "many-er" people.

    much too much: grammatical, but the repeated much (first as adverb, then as adjective) jars.

    many too many: incorrect because many (an adjective) should not modify the adverb too.

    Note to learners: many-er is NOT a real word.
     
  5. mally pense

    mally pense Senior Member

    Cheshire, England
    England, UK English
    Hi MP :)

    A few thoughts, with no claim to provide a comprehensive reply:

    Much too much is used occasionally on its own for effect, notably if someone is offering something that the recipient thinks is excessive, e.g. a large slice of gateau to a dieter: "Oooh no, that's much too much!" It's also used occasionally in song lyriics if that gives the expression any credence...

    In terms of rules, in addition to Cagey's 'many too many' rule, the only ones I can think of are:

    much more should only be used for things which are not individually countable. One hint might be not to use much more with a plural noun, so don't say "much more cats" (though you can of course say "much more catty").

    many more should only be used for things which are individually countable.

    A lot more and far more can be used with either.

    In terms of omission, you've not mentioned a great deal more or way more... there may be others.

    In terms of emphasis, you can repeat much, many, far or way but not a lot. For example, there were far, far more people than expected, there were many many many more than we could possibly have imagined. (Commas optional?)
     
  6. MarvinGS New Member

    German
    I hope it is okay to add to this Thread instead of creating a new one.

    In my opinion, this Slogan is wrong:

    but should be

    The Problem is - i can not explain why ;)
     
  7. mally pense

    mally pense Senior Member

    Cheshire, England
    England, UK English
    You're right, at least in terms of how this sounds to me personally. The only explanation I can think of is that "many more" seems to demand an extra word to explain what the "many" refers to, e.g. "many more features". "much more" on the other hand seems much happier to stand alone as a phrase.

    Alternatively, it could just be that "much more" is the phrase most commonly used in this situation and as such I have become accustomed to seeing it in this role.
     
  8. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    I think "many too many" is acceptable, but not commonly used for stylistic reasons. The expression appears in some Genesis song lyrics (just check Google):

    Many too many have stood where I stand
    Many more will stand here too,

    An informal (probably American, but maybe wider spread) expression is "way too many." (You can - well, I can - see a correlation here with "far too many" - 'far' and 'away' being similar in meaning.)

    I ate WAY too many chocolate chip cookies.
     
  9. mally pense

    mally pense Senior Member

    Cheshire, England
    England, UK English
    Song lyrics are so often an exception, artistic license and all that, and in fact most of the pertinent references in Google for "many to many" relate to this one song, not to general use, so yes you're right, it is acceptable (arguably?) but apparently not commonly used... currently.

    Way too many... of course! :)
     
  10. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    The Corpus of American English had 9 instances of 'many too many' that did not involve song lyrics, although at least a couple appeared to be the same speaker. Indeed, that speaker used "many, many too many."

    The BNC (either version that I accessed) didn't like it - no instances.

    So, it is *definitely* not common usage, but it does appear from time to time.
     
  11. ladybugEnglishFan Senior Member

    Polish
    Hey! So how will it be for example with snow? There's much more snow here than there, there's a lot more snow here than there, there's far more snow here, there's way more snow here. Can all of them be used?
     
  12. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Hello ladybugEnglishFan. :)

    They all seem fine to me.
    There's much more snow here than there. :tick:
    There's a lot more snow here than there. :tick:
    There's far more snow here. :tick:
    There's way more snow here. :tick:
    The last two require a context in which the other side of the comparison has been established earlier and understood in the conversation.
     
  13. sam_net Junior Member

    Russian
    I understand this. However, when I saw "much more opportunities" and googled it, a huge number came up. Is it (that phrase) still wrong, regardless?
     
  14. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Teachers would correct "much more opportunities" as a grammatical mistake and it is not what natives usually would say. We say:

    many more opportunities
     
  15. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    It is a mistake. In the first 10 Google hits that I see, four are for "much more. Opportunites" and one is for "much more... Opportunities" so the Google count is not quite as huge as it seems.
     

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