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“a lot of” or “lots of”

Differences between the phrases ‘a lot of’ and ‘lots of’

by | Aug 10, 2019 | Speaking, Writing

A usage point. Differences between the phrases ‘a lot of’ and ‘lots of’ and how to avoid some common mistakes.

Level of formality is one of the areas IELTS candidates have problems with. For instance, did you know that you should use “a large amount of” instead of “a lot of” in formal writing?

“A lot of” or “lots of”

Listen to these examples:

  • I eat a lot of vegetables.
  • Lots of patience is needed to do this task.
  • It’s a great city with lots of things to see and do.

As you can see, “a lot of” and “lots of” both have the same meaning and we can use:

Countable and uncountable, singular and plural nouns after both of them.

The point is:

You need to use a singular verb after an uncountable noun and a plural verb after a plural noun.

For example:

  • A lot of money was spent on carrying out this project. (Money is uncountable)
  • A lot of people were killed in World War II. (People is countable)

 

The second point to consider is that:

“A lot of” and “lots of” are a rather informal way of saying “a great deal of”, “a large amount of”, “much” or “many” .

For example:

  • This school is popular for a lot of reasons.

But in written English you say:

  • This school is popular for many reasons.

Just pay attention:

“a great deal of” and “a large amount of” are generally used with uncountable nouns.

For example:

  • They spent a lot of money. (Informal)
  • They spent a large amount of money. (Formal)

 

We can also use “a lot” without “of” which means: very often or very much.

For example:

  • She likes swimming a lot.
  • My life has changed a lot since I moved here.
  • I’m a lot happier than before.

So, it often comes at the end of a sentence and never before a noun.

 

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"a lot of" or "lots of"

About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →

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