Many (used to talk about any plural nouns)

Hello everyone,

I've read posts on the Web and here on W.R, and I'm looking for an exact answer to this. I saw a Brazilian government English test (True or False) on which one of the items says, ''We use many to talk about any plural nouns''. I must say that I consider this statement to be true, as ''many'' can refer to any plural nouns, even ''clothes'', ''scissors'', ''pants'', ''glasses'' (for the eyes) or ''jeans''. My question: Is the statement ''We use many to talk about any plural nouns'' true or false?


Thank you in advance!
 
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  • Thank you very much. The statement is ''We use many to talk about any plural noun.''

    I see. But the verb talk in ''We use many to talk about any plural noun'' leaves open the possibility to use ''many pairs of scissors'', ''many pairs of pants'' or ''many pairs of glasses'' (eye) arguing that in spite of ''pairs of'', ''many'' is still being used to talk about these nouns (indirectly, but is), so ''any'' would apply in the statement.

    What do you think?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Thank you very much. The statement is ''We use many to talk about any plural noun.''

    I see. But the verb talk in ''We use many to talk about any plural noun'' leaves open the possibility to use ''many pairs of scissors'', ''many pairs of pants'' or ''many pairs of glasses'' (eye) arguing that in spite of ''pairs of'', ''many'' is still being used to talk about these nouns (indirectly, but is), so ''any'' would apply in the statement.
    If you want to look at it that way, I think "many" is really talking about the plural noun "pairs". :)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    So it's a true/correct statement: ''We use many to talk about any plural noun.''
    No. It isn't correct. DonnyB points out some plural nouns where "many" is not used. Yes, we say "many pairs". No, we don't say "many pants".
    in spite of ''pairs of'', ''many'' is still being used to talk about these nouns (indirectly, but is)
    That's incorrect. We don't use "many" to talk about one pair of pants. This sentence doesn't say "We sometimes use". It says "we use", which in English means "we always use".

    This certainly is not a grammar rule. I could talk about plural nouns for hours without using the word "many". I don't use "many" in sentences like "Tom had five apples. Tom gave two apples to Lucy. Lucy gave one of them to Sam." Did you see the word "many" there? No. Did I talk about plural nouns? Yes.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    If the point of the original question is that we use "many" rather than "much" when we talk about plural nouns the answer is yes. Even people who object to "I have many pants in my closet" aren't likely to work "much" into that sentence.
     
    Yes, the problem (I believe) is with ''pants'', ''glasses'' (for eyes), and ''jeans'' (pants). Some people may argue that we never use ''many'' as in ''many pants'', ''many glasses'', ''many jeans''.

    "There aren't many jeans in the store'' / ''I don't have many pants'' / ''There aren't many glasses in the store''
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, the problem (I believe) is with ''pants'', ''glasses'' (for eyes), and ''jeans'' (pants). Some people may argue that we never use ''many'' as in ''many pants'', ''many glasses'', ''many jeans''.

    "There aren't many jeans in the store'' / ''I don't have many pants'' / ''There aren't many glasses in the store''
    All of those sentences are at least conceivable to me. It is true, however, that we tend to avoid saying things like "I have two jeans" or "I have two reading glasses."
     
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