Too much/many vs A lot of/Lots of

Insulted waitress

Many times in my teaching life, I have heard students confuse these two expressions. They may look very similar but they have very different meanings. It can change the tone of the conversation completely as one of them has a negative meaning.

When we use ‘a lot of/lots of’, we are only talking about the amount. We have no opinion about if this is a good thing or not.

‘There are a lot of fast food restaurants in London.’  I am just stating a fact here, I do not have an opinion one way or the other. I am basically neutral. But what if I change it to ‘too’?

‘There are too many fast food restaurants in London.’ In this one you have my opinion. I am telling you I think the amount of fast food restaurants is more than we need or should have. I think it would be better if London had fewer. You can imagine, if you say ‘too’ at the wrong time, it can be very uncomfortable and people might get annoyed.

‘There is a lot of spice in your food.’

‘There is too much spice in your food.’

The person who made this food would not be happy if you told them the second sentence!

So remember, choose ‘too’ carefully. Sometimes, our mistakes in grammar can upset people or cause offence.

Watch what you say!

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