Word Choice: Many vs. Many of
  • 3-minute read
  • 17th September 2022

Word Choice: Many vs. Many of

The words “many” and “many of” have similar meanings that are determined by how they’re written in a sentence. Check out our guide below to find out how to use these words correctly in your writing.

Many (of a Large Number)

When used as an adjective, “many” refers to having a large, unspecified quantity of something. For example:

She has many books from the library.

Many dogs bark at mail carriers.

There were many pillows on the bed.

The adjective “many” is used to modify (i.e., describe) countable nouns – we can count books, dogs, and pillows with numbers – and it lets us know that there are a large number of that noun.

Here are a few more examples:

Many people enjoyed the artist’s new album.

They traveled many miles on foot.

He had many animals on his farm.

Many of (a Large Number of)

When used as a determiner, “many of” indicates how much of the large number of people or things we’re talking about. Consider one of our examples from above:

Many dogs bark at mail carriers.

This could refer to any dogs. However, if we use “many of” in this context, we’re talking about a number of specific dogs:

Many of our dogs bark at mail carriers.

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Here are a few more examples:

Many of her books got ruined in the flood.

Many of the pillows were decorative and useless.

Many of the people at the concert enjoyed the new songs.

Many of his farm animals were free-range.

As you can see, “many of” is always followed by a noun (or pronoun) that is paired with a determiner (e.g., “the,” “those,” and “her”). The determiner helps us indicate the quantity.


Summary: Many or Many of?

Although these terms have similar meanings, they are used differently when writing grammatically correct sentences:

●  Many is used to describe countable nouns.

●  Many of is used to further specify the nouns we’re referring to.

Mastering the differences between very similar words or phrases can be tricky, especially if you’re learning English as a second language. If you struggle to tell these terms apart, the key is to remember that “many of” is always followed by a noun or pronoun paired with a determiner, whereas “many” is not:

Many of our dogs bark at mail carriers.

Many our dogs bark at mail carriers.

Hopefully, this will help you avoid mixing up these words in your writing. And if you’d like more advice on your spelling or word choice, try our proofreading service by uploading a free trial document today!

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