Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to introduce some question and answer patterns that you can use with "how much" and "how many." This will be a lesson also to remind you about countable and uncountable nouns. Let's get started.
Okay. First, I want to review when to use "how much" and "how many," these two key points to begin the questions for today. First of all, let's look at "how many." Remember, we use "how many" when we want to make a question about a countable noun. We use "how many" with countable nouns. Remember, a countable noun is a noun we can count with numbers like one, two, and three. To make a regular countable noun, we simply use the regular noun and add an S sound to the end of it. This is for regular nouns, to make the plural form of a regular countable noun. For example, marker becomes markers with an S sound. Shirt becomes shirts, for example. We simply add an S for regular nouns.
However, there are some nouns that have an irregular plural form. For today, a couple that I want to focus on are these two. Person, when we count a person, we say one person, but the plural form is people. One person, two, three, four people. This is an example of an irregular countable noun. Another one is child. We say one child, but the plural form is children, two children, three children, a lot of children. Of course we can say kids, but that's slightly a different -- it's kind of just a different word to use. When you use the word "child," please remember to use children as the plural form. These are a couple of good ones to focus on for today. We'll use these in sentences with "how many" because they're countable nouns.
Then "how much" is the second part for today's lesson, the second kind of question, beginning expression. "How much" is used with uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns, remember, are nouns we cannot count. There are things -- you might also know the expression mass nouns as well. Some common examples of uncountable nouns are like air, beer, wine, money, time. We can't count these. However, we can count the individual units inside these nouns. With that in mind, let's begin by looking at "how many" questions. These are going to be questions with countable nouns. They all begin with "how many."
These are just a few sample questions. I tried to make a few samples that you could maybe use in your everyday life, and then I made a big list of some sample answer, some sample responses to these. Let's begin. First one. "How many, something, some things, do you have?" I've included an S in a parenthesis here because for regular nouns, we will use the plural form here with an S sound at the end. However, if you're using an irregular noun, you might not need an S here. For example, if you want to ask, "How many children do you have?" you don't need an S here. That's why this S is here in the parenthesis. But for each of these examples, the S is here to remind you that you need to use the plural form. You can't use the singular form in this. If the question is, "How many children do you have?" That's correct. But if you say, "How many child do you have?" It's incorrect. You need to use the plural form when you're asking each of these questions.
First one. "How many, some things, do you have?" Second one. "How many are there?" You can use this in a room. This is a very general question, I think. "How many, some things, are coming to the event?" I've used a very, very general event planning question here. You could change event to party or barbecue or meeting, whatever. Any kind of gathering you can use this question for. Finally, "How many do you need?" A shopping question. These are very, very general questions, like I said, but they all use "how many." I want to talk about a lot of examples for your answers to these questions. First one. I want to look at this group right here for sample answers for, "How many do you have? How many of something do you have?"
These answers, we'll use some quantifiers. A quantifier is an expression we use to explain the amount of something. Here, first one. "I have a few." This is maybe like three or four, for example. And again, we're using the plural form here to answer the question. "How many movies do you have?" for example. "I have a few movies." Don't forget this plural form at the end of the sentence as well. Here, our quantifier is "a few." If, however, you would like to use a specific number to answer the question, you know the answer using a specific number, you can do that. For example, "How many children do you have?" "I have two." You can say that. Just fine here. Just a number. And you can finish the sentence there. "I have two." That's fine. If you want to include the noun again after that, that's fine too. "I have two children." Again, use the plural form here. Or, "I have two kids," if you want to use a different noun. If you want to use a specific number, fine. Here's a pattern to do that.
Another quantifier that I included here is "I have a couple." And you'll notice I included "of" here in parentheses as well. Native speakers will drop "of" sometimes, sometimes will include it. It just depends on how we're feeling. Both are okay. "I have a couple movies. I have a couple of movies." Both are fine here. "A couple," it sounds like two, right, two people like a couple dating. It sounds like two people. For me, the image of a couple of something is two of something, or a very small amount, in other words. Okay. If, however, you have zero of that thing. Make sure to use "any" in your answer. "I don't have any." Remember, "any" is used with a negative, when you're making negative statements. Don't, do not is our negative here, so we use any. "I don't have any," and the plural form, don't forget. Yes, you have zero of that thing, but we still need to use the plural form for correct grammar.
Okay. Let's go on to the next question. "How many, some things, are there?" Here, we can say there are again a specific number. "There are five chickens," for example. Here, again, a specific number. And then same thing here, we can include the plural form of the noun, or you can just finish your sentence, finish your answer with the number. There are five, for example. Another quantifier we can use is "lots of." "There are lots of," and then your plural noun. This one is actually quite useful because we can use this one with uncountable nouns as well. "There are lots of." This is one you can use with countable and uncountable noun. It's quite handy. Okay. Of course, same thing if there are no, if there are zero of whatever noun you're looking for, you can use "there aren't any," some things. "There aren't any," something. "There are not any." We see the same any pattern here. "There aren't any chickens." Chickens as my example here. "There aren't any," for example. But again, don't forget your plural form at the end.
Okay. Now, let's talk about an event, some kind of gathering, a party, a meeting, whatever. If you want to ask this question and you need the answer for it, you can use a specific answer at the beginning of the sentence, a specific number. Like, "Five people are coming" is fine. "Five people are coming to the event," if you like. "Five people are coming to the party." Or you can just say the number, five. That's fine. Or, "Five are coming." Five people as well. Any variation here, as long as you include a number, some amount somewhere.
Okay. If you don't have kind of a positive image of the number of people who are coming, you can try this expression. "I don't think many," plural noun, "are coming. I don't think many people are coming. I don't think." This sounds quite negative about the attendance numbers at the event. "I don't think many people are coming." Okay. Another pattern. Finally, let's look at two patterns you can use for this last question. "How many, some things, do you need?" We can use this "I need a lot of something" at the end. "I need a lot of cookies," for example. Here, you can see I've used "I need a lot of." Up here, I said, "There are lots of." Both of these are okay to use with countable and uncountable nouns. "I need a lot of money," for example. Money is an uncountable noun. We can use this quantifier with it as well.
Finally, "I need a handful." If you can imagine like in your hand the number of items that can fit in your hand, we can think of that as a handful, a handful of something. Here, it's the same idea. If you're talking about small objects, you can say, "I need a handful of markers," for example. "I need a handful of pieces of paper," maybe. This is usually something we use for everyday items, maybe office supplies or maybe art projects. I don't know. We typically don't use this for big items really because it's not easy to imagine having a handful of, I don't know, large items. You might hear it here and there, but generally, we use it for smaller things. These are a few ways you can answer some "how many" questions, and some of these quantifiers, like I said, can be used for uncountable nouns as well.
Let's move on to that part. Let's look at then at some "how much" questions. I have just a few here and a couple notes as well. Just three to introduce similarly to the "how many" question with, "How many, some things, do you have?" We can use how much of the uncountable noun do you have. Here, "how much." We use "how much" for an uncountable noun. "How much money do you have? How much free time do you have? for example. The second question, "How much something is there? How much wine is there? How much beer is there?" for example. This is another one that's kind of parallel to this "how many" question.
Finally, "How much do you need? How much money do you need for your project?" for example. I know that each of these starts with "how much," but one point to be careful of, many of my students have had this problem, when you answer these questions and you want to use a positive statement to answer the question, it's incorrect to use "much" when you do that. For example, "How much money do you have?" Sometimes I'll hear our students say, "I have much money." But that's incorrect. We can't use much when we're making positive statements of quantity. Please be careful. Don't use much in a positive reply.
Okay. With that in your mind then, let's look at some sample answers for this. Okay. "How much." To look at the "how much" question and some answers for that, you could say, "I have some," for example "money," or, "I have some free time." Some is a nice one because actually some is another one we can use for both countable and uncountable nouns. I didn't include it over here. There's not much space but we can use some for both countable and uncountable nouns. "I have some cookies. I have some chickens." That's good. Okay. Then let's look at another one. "I have a lot of." I mentioned on this side, we can use a lot of with both countable and uncountable nouns.
Here, we see it again. Also, you'll notice in each of these examples, I'm not including an S at the end of each of these. We can't count these nouns, so there's no plural form that's there. We don't use an S at the end of our answer. Please be careful. No S here. Okay. Continuing on, if there are zero or if there is zero rather in this case of your uncountable noun, "I don't have any. I don't have any money. I don't have any time." Here's a way to say zero of something. We looked at that over here. "I don't have any." In this case, it was an S at the end with the plural form over here. No S. "I don't have any," something. No S.
Okay. Another one. I mentioned here, we can't use "much" in a positive statement of quantity. However, we can use "much" in a negative statement of quantity. In this sentence, "I don't have much time. I don't have much money." We can use this because our negative is right here. "I do not. I do not have much of something. I don't have much of another thing." We can use it in this way. One more. "I have just a little, just a little time today. I have just a little time today." You can use "just" if you like. You can drop it, too. "I have a little time today," just acts like an emphasis here. "I have just a little time today," sounds like there's -- it's very, very small amount of time.
Okay. Let's move on to answers for this next question, "How much something, something is there?" "There's a lot of." Again, I have this same "a lot of" quantifier used. We can use that here. Again, I have "some" as an answer. There is "some." Please note that I've got this, "There is some." "There's some beer in the fridge. There's some wine in the fridge," for example. Not "there are" but "there is" because it's an uncountable noun. Over here, I said, "There are some number," or, "There are lots of" because we're using the plural form. Over here, no plural form. There's, which means there is.
Okay. Let's go on to another one. This is another negative example. "There is not much." "There's not much beer left. There's not much wine left for the party." Again, we have this "there is" and a negative, not much. "There's not much of something." Okay. Finally, "How much of something do you need?" I've included a couple casual expressions to answer this question. "I need tons of." "Tons of" is a casual expression which means a huge amount, a lot of, a lot of, a lot of something. "I need tons of." We use an S here. "Any tons of something."
Another one is, "I need a bunch of." "A bunch," imagine like a bunch of flowers, you can imagine like several of something together, several items together that we can grab in a group. "A bunch of something." Even though we say a "bunch of," we can use this with uncountable nouns. Like, "I drank a bunch of wine last night," for example, or, "I spent a bunch of money." We can use it in examples like that. Those are a couple of ways to answer the uncountable version of this question.
All right. That's a lot of patterns. There are quite a few things to practice here. But please just keep in mind this key point, "how many," plus the plural form of the noun is used for countable noun question and answers. And "how much," and the regular form of the uncountable noun is used for uncountable noun question and answers. With some practice, I think this becomes a little bit easier. Also, watch out for these irregular countable noun forms, too.
All right, with that, I'll finish this lesson here. If you have any questions or comments or you want to try to make an example sentence, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye.