so many people and such a lot of people

fabio80

New Member
italian
Which is the difference of meaning between "so many people" and " such a lot of people" ?

Thanks a lot.
 
  • mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Such a lot of people sounds awkward to me. I wouldn't say it or write it. So many people sounds much more concise.

    Google backs this up:

    such a lot of people--> 897 hits
    so many people--> 33,700,000 hits
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Such a lot of people sounds awkward to me. I wouldn't say it or write it. So many people sounds much more concise.

    Google backs this up:

    such a lot of people--> 897 hits
    so many people--> 33,700,000 hits

    I have used both throughout my life to mean the same thing. Just a thought - and not meant to be in any way to be argumentative - why and when did the number of hits on Google become a standard in language use? I have seen this so often on this and other language forums. My use of Google and other search engines shows that, at a very early stage, a phrase such as so many hits will become separated, and the results listed will have little or no bearing on the original search.

    I am definitely not being critical Mariposta because this trend does interest me. In addition, I wonder if anyone really looks at the detail of many of the Google results. Perhaps a majority of them are saying "never use so many people", and I would bet a lot of money that nobody has ever read hit number 33,700,000. :) .

    Google and other search engines are great, but are the number of hits of any relevance here and in other language points?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Google is familiar, so many people find it helpful as an indicator of usage.
    It is a pity, however, that so many people regard it as an arbiter of usage.

    I would probably go for "There were so many people at the party that no one could move," in preference to "There were such a lot of people at the party ..." But it would be a matter of how it sounded to me, not a difference of meaning.
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I wouldn't normally cite Google, but when the difference in results is as marked as 33,000,00 to 897, there is clearly a difference worth noting. I put both expressions in quotes, so it only searched for those specific phrases, not documents that simply contained those words. Google can be a good tool for examining how language is used in the media and informally, if you use it wisely.
     

    sharkey

    New Member
    Ireland, English speaking
    Hi Fabio80,
    Both sayings would be understood as meaning the same thing. However, I would suggest that "so many people" is far more common and also a 'better' way of describing the number of people.

    "There were so many people at the concert, I could hardly move!"
    "There was/were such a lot of people at the concert, I could hardly move!"

    Both sentences mean the same thing, but the first is probably a 'better' way to say it.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As a little Googlaside ...
    In my post above I used so many people twice:
    Google is familiar, so many people find it helpful as an indicator of usage.
    It is a pity, however, that so many people regard it as an arbiter of usage.
    Both are counted in a search for "so many people". If I really want to compare such a lot of people vs so many people, then only one of them is relevant.

    None of which takes away from mariposita's view, which I share, that so many people is a lot more natural and common than such a lot of people:D
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    As a little Googlaside ...
    In my post above I used so many people twice:Both are counted in a search for "so many people". If I really want to compare such a lot of people vs so many people, then only one of them is relevant.

    None of which takes away from mariposita's view, which I share, that so many people is a lot more natural and common than such a lot of people:D
    Agreed. As such, a lot of people will take Google results with a grain of salt...

    But Google can be quite useful, especially when trying to determine where certain terms are used. Often something that sounds odd (or "wrong") in one dialect is quite common in another. Though it appears that "such a lot of people" is not common anywhere--at least in written form.
     

    Macymoo

    Senior Member
    London, England (English)
    So many people is used...i have never heard anyone say such a lot of people or such a lot of animals such a lot doesn't really get used when talking about living things

    such a lot however is used in conjunction with other nouns like food, or noise.

    In actual spoke english whether is it gramatically correct or not....the expression loads of people and lots of people are used the most!!
     
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