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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #113714: Much more/ much less/ much fewer
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Frequent mistakes | Quantities [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Placement test beginners: Check your spelling - Past simple or present perfect - Vocabulary: greeting people - Placement test 1 - Vocabulary: on the phone - Countable or Uncountable? - Some / Any / Much / Many - On the phone
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    Much more/ much less/ much fewer


    On this site, there are many exercises and lessons about QUANTIFIERS; they are excellent lessons examining many/ much (a lot of ) / less/ few helping to use them all. Nevertheless, the fact is that those expressions are very often very badly used by foreigners.


    1) The basis is easy and and not controvertial at all:

     MUCH and MUCH MORE + uncountables indicate a large quantity of something AND an even larger quantity of...

    -  There's much money in this bag... You shouldn't go out alone.

    - You've given me much more money than what I need.

    2) Logically, let's study their opposites: in order to indicate a little quantity or an even smaller quantity of something, there is still no problem as long as you're dealing with  uncountable nouns. 

    - He drinks little milk and even much less hot milk than cold one.

    - She has little patience, and much less self-control than what is necessary to teach!





    3) FEW and FEWER+ uncountable nouns in the plural:  they express a small quantity!  LITTLE and LESS are followed by uncountable nouns in the singular. 

    - Fewer students walk to High School and many more bike to school now because it's much less tiring. 

    4) Now, here is THE «problem»...    if the quantity is small or even smaller you must then choose between "less" and "fewer".  Natives are quite reluctant to apply the strict rules when MANY or MUCH should be used to intensify the statement.

    All the grammar books I have looked up in (including online grammars) and quite an important number of discussions on forums  leave room to doubt or simply avoid the problem.

    - Since there have been many more cats in the neighbourhood, it is said that there are now much fewer//many fewer mice in the basements.

    This sentence is no longer unanimously employed. Quite a few years ago in :pgb, I've learnt much fewer mice.

    The explanation would be that the countable noun « mice » (the plural of "mouse") is NOT modified here, but fewer – the invariable adjective in the comparative. Yet, if you say one or the other expression much fewer//many fewer mice  you're bound to be winced at  ! As a result, natives have imagined a safer way to express the statement « far fewer mice »  which is much more frequently used. Incidentally, « far more/ far much / far many  » are also currently used.



    Therefore, apart from the oddity much fewer//many fewer + countable nouns in the plural, the rest of the lesson is quite easy. There will be no trap in the test! Go for it!


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    English exercise "Much more/ much less/ much fewer" created by here4u with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from here4u]
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    1. Of course! We’ll need meat to organize this barbecue in a satisfactory way!
    2. France people ride horses than play football.
    3. There are people waiting in this room! It might be dangerous…
    4. During the Olympic Games, were sold than what had been predicted.
    5. Thanks goodness! There were victims in that accident than it was first claimed.
    6. He drinks wine than is reasonable for his health. He needs to be helped…
    7. vegetables are now given to Associations for the Hungry instead of being thrown away as they used to be a few years ago.
    8. That water was polluted than I expected and I didn’t have a swim in the lake.
    9. very young people than adults came to the party. It was a real success, so that food was left, except for crisps and junk food! Alas, there was soda than young people would have liked… What a pity! Paradoxically, we had alcoholic beverages left than we expected.




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