Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

connect English native speakers

Do you ride the subway to work in the morning?

Are there usually a lot of people ? Do you run into lots of people on a daily basis?

Today we had a good question from a listener about a lot of and lots of.

We’re going to answer the question then give him some other ways to say this.

Plus we’ll give you one thing you should avoid when you talk about quantity.

Here is the question from our listener:

Hello! I want to know what is the difference between “a lot of” and “lots of”? and I have to add that you girls has become in part of my daily life, God bless you! I am part of a ton of people who love your work! Thank you in advance.

– Lucia


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Here is the simple answer: They are the same except “lots of” is more casual.

Today we’ll give you some native tricks to extend these and see them used differently from your textbooks.


Example 1:

A: Michelle are there a lot of rats in the NYC subway?

B: Yeah. lots.


In this case she just said “lots” and dropped “lots of” and “lots of rats.” 

This is native and casual.

What else could she have said? See the next example.


Example 2:

A: Lindsay are there a lot of books at the Cambridge Public Library?

B: Yeah tons.

“Tons” is another way to say a lot or she could have said, “yeah a ton”


What textbooks phrases could we AVOID here?

Don’t say “many.”

Sometimes you might hear an English teacher saying this to a student. He is using “teacher talk” and would not speak that way with his friends.

You could say “so many” like “there are so many Uber cars on the road now” or “too many” like “there are too many hoops to jump through if you want to run for office.”

But avoid “many” because it’s too basic and it’s only used in textbooks.


One other thing to say:

“A bunch of” = “a lot of”

Example: “There are a bunch of good vegetarian options around here.”


What’s the takeaway?

Be careful not to use “textbook talk” like the word “many” in this situation.

You might even hear your English teaching using it sometimes.

That’s why you need to listen to real, natural, native English in a real situation.

Go here to learn more about 7 Simple Secrets to Connection in English.


What questions do you have?

Let us know in the comments below.

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