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Слова little/few и much/many могут употребляться и как определители и как местоимения.


1) Little употребляется с неисчисляемыми существительными (необходимо отличать от прилагательного little, которое употреблятся с исчисляемыми существительными), а few – с исчисляемыми:

I have little interest in politics.
Few politicians are really honest.
We've got a little bacon and a few eggs.

Little выражает маленькое количество, почти никакое (т.е. имеет негативный оттенок), а a little – некоторое небольшое, но уже значимое количество (т.е. имеет позитивный оттенок):

I have little interest in politics (почти никакого).
The average MP has little real power.

There's no need to hurry. We still have a little time left.
Would you like a little soup?

То же самое с few и a few (a few близко по значению к some):

He's a man of few words. He rarely says anything.
He's not friendly. He has few friends.
Few people can speak a foreign language perfectly.

We have a few moments to spare. There's no need to hurry.
You don't need to go shopping. We've got a few potatoes and some steak.

Cactuses need little water.
Give the roses a little water every day.

His ideas are difficult, and few people understand them.
His ideas are difficult, but a few people understand them.

Very little и very few «усиливают» недостаточность чего-либо:
We've got very little butter.
He has very few clothes.
Only a little и only a few имеют выраженный негативный оттенок:
Say that you'll call him later. We've only got a little time.
The beach was empty. There were only a few swimmers.
Quite a few означает довольно большое количество:

She's been away from work for quite a few weeks.
We've got quite a few friends in the village.

● Со значением «мало», «недостаточно» можно употреблять the little по отношению к какой-то части чего-либо и the few – по отношению к группе предметов/лиц:

We should use the little time we have available to discuss Jon's proposal.
It's one of the few shops in the city centre where you can buy food.

Вместо the few/the little можно употреблять what few/what little (со значением «небольшое количество/число»):

She gave what little money she had in her purse to the man./ She gave the little money...)
What few visitors we have are always made welcome / The few visitors...

Если смысл понятен из контекста what little/the little и what few/the few можно употреблять как местоимения:

She gave what/the little she had...
What/The few we have...

Few (но редко little) можно употреблять с личными определителями, а также c these и those:

I learned to play golf during my few days off during the summer.
She put her few clothes into a bag, and walked out of the house for ever.
These few miles of motorway have taken over ten years to build.

2) (A) few и (a) little могут употребляться как местоимения:

Little is known about the painter's early life.
Some more soup? - Just a little, please.
It is a part of the world visited by few. (= few people)
Do you want a chocolate? There's still a few left. (= a few chocolates)
The password is known by only a few. (= a few people)
Do you know anything about car engines? - A little. (= I know a little about car engines)

Можно употреблять обороты (a) little of и (a) few of перед существительными с другими определителями (the, this, my и т.п.) и местоимениями:

Few people can say that they always tell the truth.
Few of us can say that we always tell the truth.

Could I try a little wine?
Could I try a little of your wine?

Only a few children like maths.
Only a few of the children in this class like maths.

3) В разговорной речи вместо little и few обычно употребляют not much/many или only/just… a few/little, и вместо a littlea bit (of) (совсем разговорно):

Sorry I haven't finished, I haven't had much time today. (лучше, чем ‘...I had little time...’)
I won't be long. I've only got a few things to get. (лучше, чем ‘...I've got few things...’)
Want a bit of chocolate? (лучше, чем ‘...a little chocolate?’)
Come on! We haven't got much time!
Only a few people speak a foreign language perfectly.

Little и few уместнее в более формальном контексте:

The results take little account of personal preference (лучше, чем ‘...don't take much...’)

Но very little и very few употребляется и в разговорной речи:

He's got very little patience and very few friends.

4) Little обычно не употребляется в качестве наречия для определения прилагательных и наречий:

It's not very interesting. (не ‘It’s little interesting’.)

(A) little может определять прилагательные в сравнительной степени:

How are you? – A little better, thanks.
The new model is little faster than the old one.

A little может употребляться с тем же смыслом, что a bit перед прилагательными и наречиями:

You must forgive her - she's a little confused.
They arrived a little late.

Употребляется оборот little known:

He's studying the work of a little known German novelist.

И little и few имеют степени сравнения:

Please make less noise.
George gives me the least trouble (меньше, чем любой другой).

There were fewer people today than yesterday.
Harry made the fewest mistakes (из всех, кто делал упражнения).


1) Less употребляется с неисчисляемыми существительными, а fewer – с исчисляемыми:

You should eat less pasta.
There are fewer cars on the road today.

2) Less иногда употребляется в разговорной речи (хотя грамматически это неправильно) с исчисляемыми существительными во множественном числе – ‘less cars’ и т.п.:

I've got less problems than I used to have.
There were less than twenty students present (правильнее ‘...fewer than...’)

3) Less употребляется, когда речь идет о расстояниях, периодах времени, количествах, процентах и т.п.:

I used to earn less than a pound a week when I first started work.
The beach is less than a mile away.
Profits have increased by no less than 95% in the last year (лучше, чем ‘...no fewer than...’)

4) Чтобы подчеркнуть, что количество к удивлению велико, можно употреблять и no less than и no fewer than:

The team has had no fewer than ten managers in just five years/ ...no less than...)

5) Less и fewer можно употреблять в качестве местоимений, когда смысл ясен из контекста:

Some people go to church, but less/fewer than 20 years ago.

Less of и fewer of употребляются перед другими определителями (the, my, this и т.п.) и местоимениями:

I'd like to spend less of my time answering letters.
At the college reunions, there are fewer of us each year.

Но если определителей нет of не употребляется:

If you want to lose weight, eat less food. (не ‘... less of food’.)
Fewer people make their own bread these days. (не ‘Fewer of people... ’)

6) Less употребляется для образования меньшей степени прилагательных:

This watch is less expensive than that one.

7) Less может употребляться как наречие (противоположно по смыслу наречию more):

I worry less than I used to.

8) Устаревшая форма lesser употребляется в некоторых сложившихся выражениях со значениями «меньший» и «не так много»:

the lesser of two evils
a lesser-known writer


1) The least употребляется как превосходная степень little (противоположно по смыслу the most):

I think I probably do the least work in this office.

Когда смысл ясен the least можно употреблять как местоимение:

Jan earns the most money in our family; Pete earns the least.

Перед существительными, выражающими отвлеченные понятия, the least of означает «наименьший»:

What will your mother think? - That's the least of my worries.

The fewest употребляется как превосходная степень few:

The translation with the fewest mistakes isn't always the best.

Least часто употребляется вместо fewest перед множественным числом, а также с исчисляемыми существительными в единственном числе, хотя это и считается неправильным.

The translation with the least mistakes isn't always the best.
He faints at the least (=smallest) sign of blood.

2) С существительными, выражающими отвлеченные понятия, в единственном числе the least может означать 'any ... at all':

Do you think there's the least chance of Smith winning the election?
What's the time? - I haven't got the least idea.

3) The least может употребляться для образования наименьшей степени сравнения прилагательных:

The least expensive holidays are often the most interesting.
I'm least happy when I have to work at weekends.

4) Least может употребляться как наречие (со смыслом противоположным most).

She always arrives when you least expect it.
I don't much like housework, and I like cooking least of all.

5) Least употребляется в выражениях

a) at least – не меньше, чем:

How old do you think he is? - At least thirty.
He's been in love at least eight times this year.

At least может быть вводным словом:

We lost everything in the fire. But at least nobody was hurt.

b) not in the least – совсем не (в формальном стиле):

I was not in the least upset by her bad temper.


1) Much употребляется с неисчисляемыми существительными (в единственном числе), а many – с исчисляемыми во множественном числе:

I haven't got much time.
I don't know many of your friends.

● Иногда much может употребляться перед исчисляемыми существительными в единственном числе:

There's not much point in going on.

Many может употребляться после других определителей (the, my, its, his, her и т.п.):

Among the many unknowns after the earthquake is the extent of damage to the foundations of buildings.
The gallery is exhibiting some of his many famous paintings of ships.

2) Much и many могут употребляться как местоимения (если при этом смысл ясен):

You haven't eaten much.
Did you find any mushrooms? - Not many.

Как правило, это звучит достаточно формально:

There is no guarantee of a full recovery. Much depends on how well she responds to treatment.
The government's policies have done much to reduce unemployment.
Many (= many people) have argued that she is the finest poet of our generation.
Not once did I see a tiger in the jungle, although I heard many.

Перед другими определителями (the, my, this и т.п.) или местоимениями употребляется much/many of:

You can't see much of a country in a week.
How much of the house do you want to paint this year?
I won't pass the exam: I've missed too many of my lessons.
How many of you are there?

There's not much meat left. (не ‘There's not much of meat left’.)
Many shops open on Sunday mornings. (не ‘many of shops’ )

Of после much/many обычно не употребляется, если нет другого определителя (артикля или личного):

She didn't eat much breakfast. (не ‘ ... much of breakfast’.)
There aren't many large glasses left. (не ‘ ... many of large glasses left’.)

Но much of употребляется перед именами и географическими называниями:

I've seen too much of Haward recently.
Not much of Denmark is hilly.

● Иногда возможно такое употребление:

He's not much of a success/gentleman.

5) В разговорной речи much и many, как правило употребляются только в вопросительных и отрицательных предложениях. В утвердительных предложениях они звучат очень формально (особенно much) и вместо них употребляются другие, равнозначные по смыслу, слова и обороты:

He's got lots of men friends, but he doesn't know many women. (More natural than ‘He's got many men friends...’)
Did you buy any clothes? .- Yes, lots. (не ‘Yes, many’)
How much money have you got? - I've got plenty. (не ‘I've got much’.)

a) a lot of и lots of

Эти выражения употребляются в основном в разговорной речи и могут употребляться с неисчисляемыми существительными и множественным числом исчисляемых (глагол согласуется в числе с существительным, а не с a lot of/lots of):

A lot of time is needed to learn a language.
Lots of patience is needed, too. (не ‘Lots of patience are needed, too’.)
A lot of my friends want to emigrate. (не ‘A lot of my friends wants... ’)
Lots of us think it's time for an election.

There's not a lot of meat left. (не ‘There's not a lot meat left’.)

b) plenty of означает «достаточно или больше, чем достаточно»:

Don't rush. There's plenty of time.
Plenty of shops take cheques.
There's no need to worry. We've got plenty of money.
Have some more coffee. - No, thank you. I've had plenty.

We took lots of food and drink on our walk through the hills/ ...plenty of...
Jim doesn't look well. He's lost a lot of weight (не 'plenty of')
Plenty of shops open on Sunday mornings. (не ‘Plenty shops’)

6) В более формальном стиле употребляются

a) much и many:

We have much (work) to do/many obstacles to overcome before we can claim that real progress has been achieved.
Much has been written about unemployment.
In the opinion of many economists, ...
Much debate has been heard about Thornton's new book.
There could be many explanations for this.
Much of her fiction describes women in unhappy marriages.

b) a great/good deal of, a large/considerable/substantial amount of и a large/considerable/great/substantial number of

Эти выражения звучат несколько более формально, чем a lot of и lots of:

A great/good deal of и a large amount of употребляются с неисчисляемыми существительными:

Mr. Lucas has spent a great deal of time in the Far East.
A good deal of the exhibition was devoted to her recent work.
I've thrown out a large amount of old clothing.
A large amount of the food was inedible/ Much of...

A large number of употребляется с существительными во множественном числе:

A large number of problems still have to be solved. (более естественно, чем
‘A large amount of problems ...’ / ‘A great deal of problems ...’ )
The book contains a large number of pictures, many in colour/ ...many...

c) оборот many a с существительным в единственном числе:

The manager must have spent many a sleepless night worrying about his team selection.
Many a pupil at the school will be pleased that Latin is no longer compulsory.

d) обороты a good/great many:

She has a good/great many friends in New Zealand.

e) обороты far too many/ far too much (со значением «слишком много»)

Far too many students failed the end-of-year math exam.
Far too much time is wasted filling in forms.

● Выражения с of обычно не употребляются перед такими словами как pounds, или miles:

It cost several pounds. (не ‘It cost a lot of pounds’.)
They lived many miles from the town. (не ‘They lived plenty of miles from
the town

● Обычно many (а не a lot of/lots) употребляются со словами, обозначающими время (days, minutes, months, weeks, years) и с числами + of (например: thousands of voters, millions of pounds):

We used to spend many hours driving to Melbourne and back.
He was the founder of a company now worth many millions of pounds.

● Выражения с of могут употребляться как местоимения, если смысл ясен:

How much did it cost? - A lot. (= A lot of money.)
We should be all right for cheese - I've bought plenty.
He does not often speak, but when he does he says a great deal.

A lot и a great deal могут употребляться как наречия:

On holiday we walk and swim a lot.
The government seems to change its mind a great deal.

● Выражения so much/many, as much/many и too much/many звучат вполне естественно в разговорной речи в утвердительных предложениях:

There was so much traffic that it took me an hour to get home.
I play as much tennis as I can.
You make too many mistakes.
She won't drink this coffee. There's too much sugar in it.
There was so much sugar in the coffee that she could't drink it.

Much употребляется как наречие в вопросах и отрицательных предложениях:

Do you work much at weekends? I don't travel much these days.
She's much older than her brother.
I don't drive much faster than you.

Much в формальном стиле может употребляться перед некоторыми глаголами (выражающими удовлетворение и предпочтение) в утвердительных предложениях:

I much appreciate your help.
We much prefer the country to the town.
I didn't much enjoy the concert.

Very much употребляется как наречие (обычно не ставится перед существительным):

I very much like your new hairstyle.
Thank you very much.
There's a whole lot of water coming under the door. (before noun) ( не ‘There's very much water coming ... ’ )

Much и many имеют степени сравнения (причем одинаковые):

George did more work/exercises than anyone else.
So he did the most work/ exercises


1) More употребляется как сравнительная степень much и many:

We need more time (не ‘ ... more of time’.)
More university students are having to borrow money these days.

2) Если смысл ясен, more можно употреблять в качестве местоимения:

I'd like some more, please.

Перед другими определителями (a, the, my, this и т.п.) и местоимениями употребляется more of:

Three more of the missing climbers have been found.
Could I have some more of that smoked fish?
I don't think any more of them want to come.

И more of употребляется перед именами и географическими названиями:

It would be nice to see more of Ray and Barbara.
Five hundred years ago, much more of Britain was covered with trees.

3) Употребляются обороты one more/ two more... и т.п..

There's just one more river to cross.

4) More употребляется (по соответствующим правилам) для образования сравнительной степени прилагательных и наречий):

As you get older you get more tolerant.
Please drive more slowly.

5) More может употребляться как наречие:

I couldn't agree more.
I hate this job more and more as the years go by.


1) The most употребляется как превосходная степень much и many:

Susan found the most blackberries (больше других).
The most work is often done by the quietest worker.

В разговорной речи the иногда опускается:

Who earns (the) most money in your family?

2) Most (в этом значении без артикля) означает «большинство»:

Most children like ice cream. (не ‘The most children... ’ )
Most cheese is made from cow's milk.
Most Swiss people understand French. (не ‘Most of Swiss people...’)
Most people want a peaceful life.

Most of употребляется перед именами и географическими названиями:

I've read most of Shakespeare.
The Romans conquered most of England.

В этом значении most уже не превосходная степень much/many, а фактически самостоятельный определитель.

The majority of (=most / most of) употребляется обычно с множественным числом:

The majority of criminals are non-violent.

3) Если смысл ясен, most можно употреблять в качестве местоимения:

Some people had difficulty with the lecture, but most understood.

Перед другими определителями (a, the, my, this и т.п.) и местоимениями употребляется most of:

Most of the people here know each other.
Most of my friends live abroad. (не ‘most my friends... ’)
Most of us thought he was wrong.
He's eaten two pizzas and most of a cold chicken.

4) (The) most употребляется (по соответствующим правилам) для образования превосходной степени прилагательных и наречий:

I wasn't as clever as the others, but I was the most beautiful.
I work most efficiently in the early morning.

5) (The) most может употребляться как наречие (артикль часто опускается в разговорной речи):

They all talk a lot, but your little girl talks (the) most.
The truth hurts most.

Как наречие most может иметь значение «очень» в формальном стиле:

That is most kind of you.
Thank you for a most interesting afternoon.
The experience was most distressing.

Mostly означает «в большинстве, но не во всех случаях»

Your little girl talks the most. (не ‘...talks mostly’.)
She mostly talks about her friends.