'as many as' vs. 'this much' - emphasizing the number/amount

zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
If I want to emphasize the number of countable nouns, I may use the ‘as many as’ structure.

1. Does this work with small numbers like: ‘He has as many as 4 cars.’ ?

2. Are these sentences natural?

-He’s got divorced as many as 5 times.

-I’ve bought as many as 10 bottles of wine. We’ll certainly have fun at the party.

3. Does this structure work with words other than ‘many’. If so, what?

4. This structure will certainly not work with uncountable nouns, right? How do I emphasize uncountable nouns then? Can I say ‘I’ve got this much alcohol. We will certainly have fun’ ?

5. If ’this much’ works for uncountable nouns, can I use ‘this many’ for countable nouns to put emphasis? Eg. I’ve got this many bottles of wine. We will certainly have fun’
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You use "as many as" to emphasise that the number is large in that particular context. It does not matter if the number is small in absolute terms, and your sentences in (1) and (2) are fine.

    You can use "so much" with uncountable nouns. "This much" really needs something to indicate how much "this much" is (such as a hand gesture). You can use "so many" for countable nouns, but "this many" does not work so well; it is difficult to indicate a number.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    1. So number 4: 'I’ve got this much alcohol. We will certainly have fun’ sounds ok if I point my hand at the bottles?

    2. I guess I recollect an American teacher when I studied English 20 years ago saying 'I've got this many essays to read' and indeed he made a hand gesture pointing a pile of students' notebooks.
    So does this sound ok? Is this grammatical?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    1. So number 4: 'I’ve got this much alcohol. We will certainly have fun’ sounds ok if I point my hand at the bottles?

    2. I guess I recollect an American teacher when I studied English 20 years ago saying 'I've got this many essays to read' and indeed he made a hand gesture pointing a pile of students' notebooks.
    So does this sound ok? Is this grammatical?
    Both your examples are fine. You don't even need to point at the bottles (although if they happen to be near you when you speak, that would be the obvious thing to do); you could space your hands apart as if you are carrying a large box (or space them vertically to indicate a tall pile of essays) - and feel free to wildly exaggerate the size; in the context, it is expected :)
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    So if we don't or can't point at something because e.g. this something is not near us, I need to say 'so many' and 'so much' instead of 'this many' and 'this much'?

    -Sorry I can't come to the meeting. I've got so much homework to do.
    -Sorry I can't come to the meeting. I've got so many essays to read.


    are these sentences natural?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Both your sentences are natural, but I think you misunderstood my earlier post. You can use "this much" or "this many" even if whatever it is isn't nearby to point to, by using your hands to show how big it is. With "so much"/"so many", you don't need gestured.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Ok, thanks, I get it now. One more question. The 'as many as' structure for giving emphasis with countable nouns will never be used with uncountable nouns despite trasnforming it into 'as much as', right?
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    You could use "as much as" with a quantity: "That cake contains as much as five kilos of sugar".
    Hmm, that's weird. I would think we refer to the kilos here, which are countable. So it's not possible to say 'as many as 5 kilos of sugar'?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hmm, that's weird. I would think we refer to the kilos here, which are countable.
    The noun "kilo" is countable, but measurements and quantities (unless describing individual units) are treated as singular/uncountable:
    Five kilos of sugar is a lot.:tick:
    Five kilos is a lot of sugar.:tick:
    Five kilos of sugar are a lot.:cross:
    Five kilos are a lot of sugar,:cross:
    This applies even when the thing being measured is countable:
    Five kilos of bananas is a lot.:tick:

    So it's not possible to say 'as many as 5 kilos of sugar'?
    No.
     
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