Quantifiable words make for a fun new English language rule that some people never really consider. Are there exact numbers associated with words like many, several, or some? If so, how much is many? And what number is many associated with? Is it possible to answer these questions at all?
How Many Is Many?
The definition of many in numbers is relative to the total population of things spoken about. Generally speaking, “many” refers to a large number of things in the mix, which is typically over half. However, not every definition of the word “many” means “over half” and instead refers to a “large number.”
If you had ten people in a group, then saying “many” would equal five, six, or more people (roughly). However, if you had a country of 20 million people, then saying “many” would equal way more than five or six! That’s why we use “many” as a relative term only. It helps to allow us to focus on our main point without worrying too much about an exact number if we’re referencing one.
What Does How Many Mean?
How many is a question that people ask when they ask someone to quantify something. But is that all that how many means? Generally, we would use it when we want a direct number, and given a general answer isn’t a good idea. If someone asked you “how many” things were present, then they would expect a definite response with an actual number attached.
Even though “many” itself is an ambiguous number that could mean five, ten, a thousand, or something else entirely, asking “how many” often ask for a number to be specified. You won’t be able to answer the question with more ambiguous words like “few” or “some.” So, make sure you understand this when you’re learning how the word is best utilized in sentences.
10 Examples Of How To Use “Many” In A Sentence
We’ve covered what “many” means and what it roughly equates, but now it’s time to look at some examples of it in a sentence. We’ll cover a good selection of example sentences to give you the best chance to learn how it’s used. Make sure you pay close attention to these examples so you have a good understanding of them, and you can try and work out roughly how many things each “many” refers to in each sentence.
- Many of my friends have left for college.
- I haven’t got many family members left.
- How many people are coming tonight?
- She has too many people around her.
- We have many ideas that might help.
- He isn’t good at many things.
- Many of us have already left.
- I haven’t seen many birds out here.
- How many countries have you visited?
- Many Americans find it hard to travel abroad.
Synonyms For “Many”
There’s one other thing that you can do that might make your life a little easier. If you’d rather not worry about “many” or the implications that come with it, then it might help to familiarize yourself with a few alternatives. That way, if you’re not sure how “many” work in a sentence, you can use something else that you’re a little more familiar with. It also helps to further your own understanding of a word if you know the synonyms for it.
This is a great one that implies a lot of things or people are being mentioned. It’s always referring to a large number of things, so it is a suitable replacement.
- A lot of
Again, it’s a great way to replace “many” in a sentence. If you use it, you’re always referring to a large number of things.
This one works quite well but should only be used in more informal situations. Saying something like “countless Americans” for a report wouldn’t work, but “countless people have left” works fine in the right context.
Similar to numerous, this word works perfectly as a replacement and implies a great number of things are being used.
- Plenty (of)
This is a really good way to say “many,” but you should use it mostly in informal situations. You won’t get away with this in many formal environments, so try not to use it at the workplace.
You may also like: