Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 16, 2011

A lot – a lot of

A lot and a lot of – what’s the difference?

………

The meaning is the same. The difference is how we use them:

……..

We usea lot ofwhen we add an object. For example:

I want a lot of milk.

There are a lot of people.

There is a lot of traffic today

(object = milk, people, traffic).

…….

If we don’t add an object, we don’t add “of”. For example:

How much milk do you want? I want a lot.

How many people are there? There are a lot.

How much traffic is there? There’s a lot.

…..

We can use lots or lots of  – the meaning is the same

There are a lot of people in the mall today.

There are lots of people in the mall today.

I want a lot of milk.

I want lots of milk.

……….

We can also give short answers to questions:

How much milk do you want? Lots

How much milk do you want? A lot


Remember that for countable nouns, the noun and verb must be plural:

A lot of cars travel on this road everyday.

There are a lot of cars in the car park.

A lot of my friends study English.

…….

For uncountable nouns, the verb is as for singular:

There is a lot of pollution in Beijing.

A lot of money is spent on entertainment in Los Angeles.

……….

Afterof‘, we can use a noun, a pronoun or a gerund:

A lot of people play sport  (people is a noun)

A lot of them play football  (them is a pronoun)

A lot of fighting takes place at night  (fighting is a gerund)

……..

With comparatives of adjectives

We can use a lot (but not a lot of) when we use comparatives of adjectives.

For example:

Sarah is a lot taller than Sally.

I am a lot happier today than I was yesterday.

You are a lot more confident than you were two years ago.

We cannot use a lot of: I am a lot of happier today


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Responses

  1. Thanks a lot for your new blog.
    Which sentence is correct:
    1. There IS a lot of books on the table.
    2. There ARE a lot of books on the table.
    3. Lots of books are spoiled by the flood. (correct/wrong)
    4. A lot of books is spoiled by the flood. (correct/wrong)
    What’s the difference between and ?
    Thank you.

  2. What’s the difference between A LOT OF BOOKS and LOTS OF BOOKS?
    5. I’m not a lot happier than yesterday. (correct/wrong?)

  3. Hi Bambang.
    Thanks for your comment and questions.

    “Books” = plural countable noun, so the verb should be “are”:
    There are 2 books on the table.
    There are 14 books on the table.
    There are a lot of books on the table.

    But for a singular countable noun…
    There is a book on the table.
    There is one book on the table.

    Remember that ‘lots of’ is more than one (countable noun).

    3 and 4. The verb should be for plural, so…
    4. A lot of books are spoiled. Lots of books are spoiled.
    A lot of books were/have been spoiled by the floods.
    Lots of books were/have been spoiled by the floods.

    1. “There are a lot of books on the table” is correct but in informal spoken English some people might say “There’s a lot of books on the table”. I think they say this when they join ‘there’ + ‘is’ = ‘there’s’. They probably wouldn’t say “There is a lot of books on the table.”

  4. A LOT OF BOOKS = LOTS OF BOOKS. The same meaning.

    I’m not a lot happier than yesterday. Correct.

  5. It’s a pleasure for me to be a reader on this site, as a matter fact the expressions lots of and a lot of, and a lot are similar to much and many, in particular lots of is used informally. Feel free for corrections, and invite you friends to promote this site, it’s really useful. Carlos from Brazil.

  6. Hello.
    this page is very useful for me.
    now I get it. but I don’t sometime understand.

    thank you.:)

  7. Thanks a lot for your explanations. I surely must practise a lot more than usual 🙂
    (Is the sentence correct? You can re-write my sentence)

  8. Hi Bambang. You are welcome, and yes, your sentence is correct 🙂


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