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Common mistakes

much vs many

Use much if the noun is non-countable (e.g., water, sand). Use many if the noun is countable (e.g., oranges, children). For example:

  1. I don’t have much money.
  2. They own many houses.

Examples for much vs many

  1. Phillip owns many properties in France.
  2. We didn’t make much profit this year.
  3. How much money have you got?
  4. Sharon does not have many friends.
  5. There are too many students in this class.
  6. It doesn’t need much milk.
  7. We had so much fun.
  8. I spent many days there.

much vs many exercises

Decide whether you have to use much or many:

  1. Phillip owns _______ properties in France.
  2. We didn’t make _______ profit this year.
  3. How _______ money have you got?
  4. Sharon does not have _______ friends.
  5. There are too _______ students in this class.
  6. It doesn’t need _______ milk.
  7. We had so _______ fun.
  8. I spent _______ days there.

a little vs a few

Use a little for non-countable nouns (e.g., jam, time). Use a few if the noun is countable (e.g., jars of jam, students). For example:

  1. I have coffee with a little milk.
  2. She likes a few songs by Frank Sinatra.

Examples for a little vs a few

  1. Can you please buy a few apples.
  2. We need a little water.
  3. I have a little money left.
  4. I take a little sugar with my coffee.
  5. We had a few pints of beer there.
  6. You have a little time left.
  7. There are a few chairs in the room.
  8. He only spent a few dollars there.

a little vs a few exercises

Decide whether you have to use a little or a few:

  1. Can you please buy _______ apples.
  2. We need _______ water.
  3. I have _______ money left.
  4. I take _______ sugar with my coffee.
  5. We had _______ pints of beer there.
  6. You have _______ time left.
  7. There are _______ chairs in the room.
  8. He only spent _______ dollars there.

some vs any

Use some when the context is positive and any when it is negative as well as in most cases of questions. For example:

  1. I have some money / I don’t have any money
  2. I put some jam in the sandwich / I didn’t put any jam in the sandwich

Examples for some vs any

  1. Is there any milk left?
  2. There is some juice in the bottle.
  3. Do you have any coffee?
  4. I don’t have any money left.
  5. She has some money.
  6. Do you know any of these singers?
  7. I don’t know any of them.
  8. I know some of them.

some vs any exercises

Decide whether you have to use some or any:

  1. Is there _______ milk left?
  2. There is _______ juice in the bottle.
  3. Do you have _______ coffee?
  4. I don’t have _______ money left.
  5. She has _______ money.
  6. Do you know _______ of these singers?
  7. I don’t know _______ of them.
  8. I know _______ of them.

some vs many

Use some in a positive context when you don’t want to specify the number or quantity. Use many with countable nouns, when you want to refer to a large but indefinite number. For example:

  1. I bought some apples / I bought many apples.
  2. She made some friends in NY / She made many friends in NY

Examples for some vs many

  1. The child put some sand into the bucket.
  2. I can lend you some money if you need it.
  3. There aren’t any pears left. Only two.
  4. We had some cake with the tea.
  5. Don’t eat so many sweets or you’ll get fat.
  6. I had some beer last night at the bar.
  7. I don’t have many friends.
  8. He brought some food with him.

some vs many exercises

Decide whether you have to use some or many:

  1. The child put _______ sand into the bucket.
  2. I can lend you _______ money if you need it.
  3. There aren’t _______ pears left. Only two.
  4. We had _______ cake with the tea.
  5. Don’t eat so _______ sweets or you’ll get fat.
  6. I had _______ beer last night at the bar.
  7. I don’t have _______ friends.
  8. He brought _______ food with him.

little vs less

Little refers to non-countable nouns, and is used with the singular form. Less is the comparative form of little. Use less in comparative structures, especially before uncountable nouns. For example:

  1. I have less homework to do today than I had yesterday.
  2. I have little homework to do before I leave.

Examples for little vs less

  1. I have little interest in classical music.
  2. I have little faith in him.
  3. We need less furniture in this dance hall than in the big one.
  4. You have to drink less coffee.
  5. He has less money than I thought.
  6. Tonight I drank less wine than last night.
  7. She dedicates less time to her homework than to her hobbies.
  8. This will take less time to finish than the last time we tried.

little vs less exercises

Decide whether you have to use little or less:

  1. I have _______ interest in classical music.
  2. I have _______ faith in him.
  3. We need _______ furniture in this dance hall than in the big one.
  4. You have to drink _______ coffee.
  5. He has _______ money than I thought.
  6. Tonight I drank _______ wine than last night.
  7. She dedicates _______ time to her homework than to her hobbies.
  8. This will take _______ time to finish than the last time we tried.

a little vs a lot

Use a lot for non-countable nouns (e.g., jam, time) to indicate many, or a large number. Use a little for non-countable nouns to indicate a small number. Notice that a lot is followed by the word of (unike a little). For example:

  1. I don’t have a lot of money.
  2. I owe him a little money.

Examples for a little vs a lot

  1. That may cost you a lot of money.
  2. I added a little sugar to the mix.
  3. You’ll have to spend a lot of cash on this car.
  4. I can do it with a little help from my friends.
  5. A little change can really make a difference.
  6. I don’t have a lot of free time today.
  7. He left a lot of laundry for me to do.
  8. She gave him a little attention.

a little vs a lot exercises

Decide whether you have to use a little or a lot:

  1. That may cost you _______ of money.
  2. I added _______ sugar to the mix.
  3. You’ll have to spend _______ of cash on this car. (a lot)
  4. I can do it with _______ help from my friends.
  5. _______ change can really make a difference.
  6. I don’t have _______ of free time today.
  7. He left _______ of laundry for me to do.
  8. She gave him _______ attention.

few vs little

Little refers to non-countable nouns, and is used with the singular form to indicate that something exists only in a small amount or to a slight degree. Few refers to countable nouns, and is used with the plural form to indicate not many persons or things. For example:

  1. I’ve got little money left in my account.
  2. Ben has few friends in London.

Examples for few vs little

  1. There’s little point in calling.
  2. Few people understood what he said.
  3. There is little use in trying to do this.
  4. There’s little space here as it is.
  5. There’s little I can do about this.
  6. Dan is a great student. He has few problems with history.
  7. There was little traffic on the road.
  8. I think Coventry will win the match but few people agree with me.

few vs little exercises

Decide whether you have to use few or little:

  1. There’s _______ point in calling.
  2. _______ people understood what he said.
  3. There is _______ use in trying to do this.
  4. There’s _______ space here as it is.
  5. There’s _______ I can do about this.
  6. Dan is a great student. He has _______ problems with history.
  7. There was _______ traffic on the road.
  8. I think Coventry will win the match but _______ people agree with me.

fewer vs less

Less is the comparative form of little. It is used especially before uncountable nouns. Fewer is the comparative of few. It is used before plural nouns. For example:

  1. Jeff drinks less alcohol than John.
  2. I have fewer pairs of shoes than I used to have.

Examples for fewer vs less

  1. There were fewer days below freezing last winter.
  2. I drank less water than she did.
  3. I have less than an hour to do this work.
  4. People these days are buying fewer newspapers.
  5. I have less time to do this work.
  6. Fewer than thirty children each year develop the disease.
  7. I wear less makeup on weekdays.
  8. He worked fewer hours than I did.

fewer vs less exercises

  1. There were _______ days below freezing last winter.
  2. I drank _______ water than she did.
  3. I have _______ than an hour to do this work.
  4. People these days are buying _______ newspapers.
  5. I have _______ time to do this work.
  6. _______ than thirty children each year develop the disease.
  7. I wear _______ makeup on weekdays.
  8. He worked _______ hours than I did.

farther vs further

As a rule of thumb, use farther to indicate physical distance and further to indicate metaphorical, or figurative, distance. For example:

  1. How much farther is the sun than the moon?
  2. The product needs further testing.

Sometimes the rule of thumb doesn’t work because it’s hard to decide whether the distance is physical or not. Luckily, in such ambiguous cases it doesn’t matter which word you choose.

Examples for farther vs further

  1. How much farther do you plan to drive tonight?
  2. I just can’t go any further.
  3. Do you have any further plans for adding on to the building?
  4. That’s a lot farther than I want to carry this heavy suitcase!
  5. The farther that I travel down this road, the further behind schedule I get.
  6. How much further do you intend to take this legal matter?
  7. It’s not that much farther to the gas station.
  8. How much farther do I have to run, coach?

farther vs further exercises

Decide whether you have to use farther or further:

  1. How much _______ do you plan to drive tonight?
  2. I just can’t go any _______.
  3. Do you have any _______ plans for adding on to the building?
  4. That’s a lot _______ than I want to carry this heavy suitcase!
  5. The _______ that I travel down this road, the _______ behind schedule I get.
  6. How much _______ do you intend to take this legal matter?
  7. It’s not that much _______ to the gas station.
  8. How much _______ do I have to run, coach?

later vs latter

Use later when referring to time. Use latter when referring to the second of two persons or things mentioned previously. For example:

  1. Brenda said that she would call me later.
  2. “There are two kinds of worries: those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” (Duke Ellington)

Examples for later vs latter

  1. My neighbours have a son and a daughter : the former is a teacher, the latter is a nurse.
  2. I will address that at a later time.
  3. Of the first two Harry Potter books, I prefer the latter.
  4. John arrived at the party later than Mary did.
  5. I prefer the latter offer to the former one.
  6. I will be back later.
  7. I was given the choice between a hamburger or a hotdog, I chose the latter of the two; the hotdog.
  8. When it comes to soy burgers or a juicy cow burger, I prefer the latter.

later vs latter exercises

Decide whether you have to use later or latter:

  1. My neighbours have a son and a daughter : the former is a teacher, the _______ is a nurse.
  2. I will address that at a _______ time.
  3. Of the first two Harry Potter books, I prefer the _______.
  4. John arrived at the party _______ than Mary did.
  5. I prefer the _______ offer to the former one.
  6. I will be back _______.
  7. I was given the choice between a hamburger or a hotdog, I chose the _______ of the two; the hotdog.
  8. When it comes to soy burgers or a juicy cow burger, I prefer the _______.

last vs latter

Use latter to refer to the second of two persons or things that have been mentioned. When more than two have been mentioned, use last. For example:

  1. He preferred oranges to apples, because the latter were not as juicy.
  2. He saw Leathal Weapon 1, 2, and 3 and liked the last one most.

Examples for last vs latter

  1. Jack, Jill and Bob went up the hill; the last watched the other two fall down.
  2. The former half of the film is more interesting than the latter half.
  3. Out of chapters 1, 2, and 3, the last one is the most difficult to learn.
  4. Dan is now friends with Ruth, Maya and Ben. The last is his cousin.
  5. Jane speaks Italian and English : the former language fairly well and the latter fluently.
  6. There are two versions, A and B, but the latter is more popular.
  7. Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the latter is remembered today.
  8. I study math, English and history. I enjoy the last one most.

last vs latter exercises

Decide whether you have to use last or latter:

  1. Jack, Jill and Bob went up the hill; the _______ watched the other two fall down.
  2. The former half of the film is more interesting than the _______ half.
  3. Out of chapters 1, 2, and 3, the _______ one is the most difficult to learn.
  4. Dan is now friends with Ruth, Maya and Ben. The _______ is his cousin.
  5. Jane speaks Italian and English : the former language fairly well and the _______ fluently.
  6. There are two versions, A and B, but the _______ is more popular.
  7. Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the _______ is remembered today.
  8. I study math, English and history. I enjoy the _______ one most.