Archive for July, 2012

How Much Cookies Can I Have?

Hank has been trying to teach Shira the difference between much and many. (This despite the fact that I am the editor in the family. I think because I’m an editor, this kind of thing doesn’t bother me–you can’t edit all day and have more than one or two grammar pet peeves.) Problem is–as he will tell you–although he may know what’s right, like many people he can’t explain why. He’s been correcting her for a while, and she just rolls her eyes and asks for cookies, however many it may be.

His latest teaching tool was this: It’s how much stuff and how many things. So he corrects her and then adds this tip. Finally yesterday she said with this exasperated look on her face, “But I don’t know the difference between stuff and things!” Which I thought was hilarious because obviously not, and¬†after all what is the difference? (Keep reading to find out.)

We were talking about it later and decided to try explaining it by saying it’s the difference between how much ice cream and how many cookies. That’s more on her level.

For the record, the difference between much and many is similar to the difference between less and fewer, which many adults find trickier. Much and less go with the ice-cream-like nouns–those that you can’t easily¬†count or make plural. And many and fewer go with the cookie nouns, those that you clearly can count and hope you are getting a plural number. (Is there such a thing? And who can eat just one cookie?)

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July 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM 1 comment


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