how much /how many [mushrooms]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by paul1981, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. paul1981 New Member


    I have one serious and kind of embarassing question. Consider the following senteces:

    1-'How many mushrooms do we need?' Answer- ' we need 8 mushrooms'

    '2-'How much mushrooms do we need?' Answer- ' we need 200 g'

    I know that we use "how many" to objects/concepts we can count, whereas ' how much' is used with uncountable nouns. But considering the two different answers, is it possible to make the 2nd question? It does sound awkward to me, but the answer is given with a measuring unit, and not a singular unit.

    Thanks for your time
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    I suppose it's possible, but it still sounds awfully strange. How many mushrooms do we need? We need 200 grams of them.
  3. AlanT

    AlanT Senior Member

    Portland, Oregon
    American English
    You could also say "How much mushroom do we need?", but it still sounds pretty strange.

    However, if they were sliced and you were making a pizza, it would be a bit like asking "How much pepperoni do we want to put on it?", which works just fine.

  4. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Referring to one or more things mashed up, or to bits/pieces of one or more things, rather than to whole things:

    How much (of the) potatoes do we need? I think we need about a gallon.
    How much (of the) mushrooms do we need? I think we need about two cups.
  5. Languagethinkerlover Senior Member

    English-British and U.S.
    Very good question you're asking.

    In my opinion it matters the answer you expect. For example, when you go to a sandwich restaurant, say you want some jalapenos.

    You say, "Oh, I also want jalapenos."

    The person might ask, "How much?"

    The worker asks how much because your response might be 'a little,' 'a lot.' Those answers are not countable so that is why some people might ask how much.

    But with what you've given us, you already have a certain amount in mind (it's countable), so 'many' is the best option.
  6. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Customer: Hello. I'd like three bananas, a kilo of apples and 200 g of mushrooms, please.
    Greengrocer: Here are the bananas and a kilo of apples. How much (of the) mushrooms did you say?
    Customer: 200 g.
    Greengrocer: OK. Here are your mushrooms. That'll be .....

    200 g represent an amount not quantity.
    That's why we can use "How much".

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