Monday, June 28, 2010


For many English Users, these two question forms generate confusion. Below are some guidelines to determine the correct use:
  • First, determine if you are talking about countables or non-countables.
    For more information see our previous POST about this topic.

  • Use HOW MANY for countables or plural concepts.
    Ex.1) How many boxes do you need?
    Ex.2) How many people did you see at the gate?

  • Use HOW MUCH for non-countable or singular concepts.
    Ex.3) How much coffee would you like?
    Ex.4) How much pressure can the tank sustain?

  • Use HOW MUCH for questions where the non-countable concept is implied by context, but not used directly.
    Ex.5) How much does the computer cost?
    How much implies how much "money" (non-countable concept)
    Ex.6) How much does the car get per gallon/liter?
    How much implies how much "distance" (non-countable concept)

  • Here are some irregular plural countables to be aware of:
    Man > men
    Woman > women
    Child > children
    Person > people
    Mouse > mice


  1. My son asked me, "How many clocks, Mami?" He meant to ask, "What time is it?" :)

  2. Very interesting! To be honest it is a huge problem for English users to recognize the difference between one and the other.. and we still hear things like PEOPLE IS....
    Go for it!

  3. I agree Yamila, "People is" is a classic!