many = a lot of = a number of ?

sharapova

New Member
russian-russia
Hi, I learned this from my English class. In my textbook, it says many = a lot of = a number of.
So, can I say many students = a lot of students = a number of students = a considerably good number of students?
What are the differences for the four sentences, or they have the same meaning?
Thanks.
 
  • Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Yes, they are synonymous but it depends on the context. 'Many' is usually used in negative sentences and in formal English. "A lot of" is informal and is usually used in affirmative senetces.
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    British English
    'A number of students' is not the same as 'many students' - you can say 'a large number'. 'A considerably good number' sounds unnatural.
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    'A number of students' is not the same as 'many students' - you can say 'a large number'. 'A considerably good number' sounds unnatural.

    Hi, thanks for your reply.
    I found this sentence "English Essay writing has been a challenge to a considerably good number of students, yet to some, it is no great deal." on a website.
    So, this sentence is wrong? I though this sentence was written by a native English speaker.
    Thanks.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Which website, sharapova? If you can't link to it just tell us the name. The sentence in #4 is not correct.
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    Which website, sharapova? If you can't link to it just tell us the name. The sentence in #4 is not correct.

    Hi,
    You can google this sentence "English Essay writing has been a challenge to a considerably good number of students, yet to some, it is no great deal."
    I am so confused now.
    Thanks.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I also agree with post 2.



    It's the "considerably" in "a considerably good number" that sounds very strange, sharapova.
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    Hi,
    Thanks for all your replies. Now I know this website has many errors.
    Based on this, I am not sure is it because native English speakers do not say "a considerably good number of" or you don't say "considerably good"?
    This is another sentence that I found in an English learning textbook, "If you are an alert reader, and have a good vocabulary and considerably good general awareness, your comprehension of a new text or an unseen passage too will be quick and correct.”
    You can also google this sentence on the website because it is an electronic book, called "Contemporary Communicative English For Technical Communication"
    Is this sentence wrong?
    Thanks for your kind reply.
     

    dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    Hi,

    This is another sentence that I found in an English learning textbook, "If you are an alert reader, and have a good vocabulary and considerably good general awareness, your comprehension of a new text or an unseen passage too will be quick and correct.”
    You can also google this sentence on the website because it is an electronic book, called "Contemporary Communicative English For Technical Communication"
    Is this sentence wrong?
    Thanks for your kind reply.

    I Googled it. The textbook is an Indian publication so highly likely to have been written by non-native speakers.
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    Here is another sentence in a textbook, "That is why relations between unions and management are considerably good. Due to this, strikes are rare. "

    So, does that mean I can use considerably good in some right contexts, but not in a considerably good number of?
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It isn't a common collocation. I would avoid it if I were you. Perhaps the writer wanted to avoid the sometimes ambiguous and vague "quite good".
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I've never heard considerably good used before this thread. The two sources cited appear to be non-native English.
    That really surprises me, Dermott. I thought for a moment that it may have been an expression peculiar to Australians, but maybe not. I've used it many times in my life (and I've lived a while). There are a considerably good number of :D Google listings for both "considerably good" and "considerably good number of" and they're not all Indian. :)
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    That really surprises me, Dermott. I thought for a moment that it may have been an expression peculiar to Australians, but maybe not. I've used it many times in my life (and I've lived a while). There are a considerably good number of :D Google listings for both "considerably good" and "considerably good number of" and they're not all Indian. :)

    Hi,
    I remember a long time ago, my English teacher told me that for some phrases or words in English, there is no absolute agreement or consensus among native speakers. Could this be an example?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    'Many' is usually used in negative sentences and in formal English. "A lot of" is informal and is usually used in affirmative senetces.
    I am surprised to find velisarius and Loob, both of whom I greatly respect, endorsing this claim so wholeheartedly.
    I agree that "a lot of" is informal, but not so informal that you would never expect it to put in an appearance in formal writing. Also, we need to be careful when we label something 'formal', because sometimes doing so carries a deliberate implication that it is so formal that it would be unlikely to occur in "normal" informal speech. That is not the case with 'many'.

    To say that these terms are "usually used" in negative or positive contexts, respectively, suggests that they are rarely to be found in the other, or that the other should be discouraged. I don't think that's the case at all. Does A, below, really sound so much more unlikely than B?
    A - Not a lot of learners know this, but many of their teachers have a poor understanding of their subject.
    B - Not many learners know this, but a lot of their teachers have a poor understanding of their subject.

    OK, I'm cheating here because I'm making B look bad by pairing "a lot of" with countable "teachers", and while that is done, it's really very informal. Let's say instead "but some of their teachers talk a lot of nonsense".
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Hi,
    I remember a long time ago, my English teacher told me that for some phrases or words in English, there is no absolute agreement or consensus among native speakers. Could this be an example?
    It could be, sharapova. There are differences between British, American and Australian English, but in this case 2 Australians have a different opinion. Maybe dermott has lived too long in Italy, :D
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    A good number is fine but a considerably good number isn't. How many people were at the meeting? - A good number.
    A number of means a number that isn't large. The doctor examined all the patients. A number of them had whooping cough. More than just a few but still a minority.
    We saw many animals is more formal than We saw lots of animals. But you'd say We didn't see many animals.
    And many isn't always formal even in the positive. Many of you will know that the chairman has resigned. Perhaps it's because it's many of you. A lot of would sound sloppy at best. Lots of would be worse.
    Not precedes many and a lot (of) and not lots of. Not many people have succeeded. Not a lot of people like him.
    Cross-posted.
     
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    dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    It could be, sharapova. There are differences between British, American and Australian English, but in this case 2 Australians have a different opinion. Maybe dermott has lived too long in Italy, :D

    You say tomato, I say the Italian equivalent. :cool: The reality is that there will always be disagreement on these things. You'll find it in the majority of threads in this place.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    There are a considerably good number of :D Google listings for both "considerably good" and "considerably good number of" and they're not all Indian. :)
    That's not as true as you think it is. The first page of the "considerably good" search claims 71,300 occurrences, but when you fast forward to the last page, you find it runs out of steam at 375 occurrences.
    For "considerably good number of" the initial count is 3220 but they run out at 72. When Ilooked at a small random selection of the instances shown by these two searches, I found that many of them were substandard.

    Even "considerable number of", which sounds perfectly good to me, whittles an initial count of 4,210,000 down to only 365.
    I really don't understand why googles initial counts are so wrong. The fact is that google searches are completely useless for this sort of thing,
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    That's not as true as you think it is. The first page of the "considerably good" search claims 71,300 occurrences, but when you fast forward to the last page, you find it runs out of steam at 375 occurrences.
    For "considerably good number of" the initial count is 3220 but they run out at 72. When Ilooked at a small random selection of the instances shown by these two searches, I found that many of them were substandard.

    Even "considerable number of", which sounds perfectly good to me, whittles an initial count of 4,210,000 down to only 365.
    I really don't understand why googles initial counts are so wrong. The fact is that google searches are completely useless for this sort of thing,
    I took that into consideration, Edinburgher. I always click onto the last page to get the correct number of listings. I'm surprised Google hasn't corrected this problem after all these years. :)
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Ngrams is better for this sort of thing. It shows that "extremely good" happens about one fortieth as often as "very good", and "considerably good" about a 140th as often as "extermely good". So it's really quite rare.
    It finds no occurrences of "considerably good number" at all.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, they are synonymous but it depends on the context. 'Many' is usually used in negative sentences and in formal English. "A lot of" is informal and is usually used in affirmative senetces.
    Hi Edinburgher,

    Emp was careful not to suggest that we never use "a lot of" in formal writing, or that we never say things like "I have many talents". As a general guideline for learners though, I still think his advice is considerably good. :D
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    Ngrams is better for this sort of thing. It shows that "extremely good" happens about one fortieth as often as "very good", and "considerably good" about a 140th as often as "extermely good". So it's really quite rare.
    It finds no occurrences of "considerably good number" at all.

    Hi,
    Thank you all so much for the help.
    Does Ngrams gives any example that shows the sentence with "considerably good," even though it is rare? (just out of curiosity)

    Velisarius wrote, "I still think his advice is considerably good." So, can that be a such an example?

    Thank you again, and I really learn a lot from you.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I still think his advice is considerably very good:eek: Sorry about that - I put a :D to show I was only joking.:thumbsup:
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Ngrams is better for this sort of thing. It shows that "extremely good" happens about one fortieth as often as "very good", and "considerably good" about a 140th as often as "extermely good". So it's really quite rare.
    It finds no occurrences of "considerably good number" at all.
    Thanks, Edinburgher. :) It might be better but still needs to be worked on.

    I quickly checked for a few listings that appear to legit and found these two:

    Barry Greenstein’s hard work and dedication in putting in long hours at the felt has enabled him to win a considerably good number of lucrative events. Barry Greenstein's Net Worth | Profiting at Poker

    I was also impressed that they had a considerably good number of graphic novels available. KU Bookstore - Bookshops - Lawrence, KS, United States - Reviews - Photos - Yelp

    I know that a few swallows do not a summer make, but I happen to be one of those swallows. Maybe I was an Indian in my first previous life. I'll ask a few friends here and see whether they've heard or used it.:)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    a few listings that appear to legit
    Hmm. Let's look at the poker swallow:
    (He) is a native American proficient poker player. - Poor word order
    After his graduation from high school, Barry earned his BSc in Computer Science in just three years. - Should be "after graduating", otherwise it sounds as though he collected his BSc that afternoon, but this is contradicted by "three years".
    Barry’s youthful days led him through a very strict academic path - You go along a path, not through one, unless you're a worm.

    The bookstore-reviewing swallow's English is not exactly flawless either, I'm afraid.

    It seems to be an uncomfortable marriage between "a considerable number" and "a good number" (where the latter really ought instead to be "a goodly number").
    I'll ask a few friends here and see whether they've heard or used it.
    Careful! They might only have heard it from you, and won't want to offend you by giving you the answer you don't want to hear!:cool:
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Hmm. Let's look at the poker swallow:
    (He) is a native American proficient poker player. - Poor word order
    After his graduation from high school, Barry earned his BSc in Computer Science in just three years. - Should be "after graduating", otherwise it sounds as though he collected his BSc that afternoon, but this is contradicted by "three years".
    Barry’s youthful days led him through a very strict academic path - You go along a path, not through one, unless you're a worm.

    The bookstore-reviewing swallow's English is not exactly flawless either, I'm afraid.

    It seems to be an uncomfortable marriage between "a considerable number" and "a good number" (where the latter really ought instead to be "a goodly number").

    Careful! They might only have heard it from you, and won't want to offend you by giving you the answer you don't want to hear!:cool:
    Edinburgher, if you were to analyze what the average 'native' English speaker says you could tear most of it to pieces. And no, I don't get offended easily so my friends would tell it like it is. :)
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I've just heard from a few friends and this is the verdict:

    Friend born in England but lived here most of her life - heard the expression but doesn't use it
    Friend born and raised here - heard and uses it
    Husband of the friend above. He was born in England but now lives here - uses this expression a lot (this actually surprised me)
    Friend born and raised here - never heard it

    :)
     

    sharapova

    New Member
    russian-russia
    I've just heard from a few friends and this is the verdict:

    Friend born in England but lived here most of her life - heard the expression but doesn't use it
    Friend born and raised here - heard and uses it
    Husband of the friend above. He was born in England but now lives here - uses this expression a lot (this actually surprised me)
    Friend born and raised here - never heard it

    :)

    Thank you and your friends!
    Just for anyone who is interested, my friend just shared the following BBC story with me, and he thinks BBC could be a reliable source.
    • By Brendan McAleer
    19 December 2013
    Here and there, the bright red berries of a mountain ash brighten the landscape. It's an iconic colour, a favourite of migrating birds, and the hue of the paint found on the US national park's 33 historic buses, now at rest for the season.

    Each 11-passenger, canvas-topped bus is in considerably good health for a near-octogenarian with an average odometer reading of 600,000 miles of hard service. Built by the White Bus company in the mid-’30s, these tourers are the oldest continuously operating fleet in the world. They very nearly weren't."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Each ... bus is in considerably good health
    That sounds strangely OK to me, but I'd be much less happy with "Its health is considerably good".
    Note also that this example does not use "considerably" as a mere intensifier of "good", but it means that the bus is in (remarkably) good health considering its age,
     
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