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'Lots of time' might be too casual to use in essays, I have used 'long hours' instead, what are some other ways to say 'lots of'?

For example, in this sentence:

University students have to spend lots of time to do researches and write reports.

  • Copious hours of study are required, just as there are copious useful answers to this question, unfortunately. – P. E. Dant Sep 20 '16 at 3:56
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    "Copious" collocated with "hours", learn something new every day, enlightenment at the bottom of a pint – Peter Sep 20 '16 at 4:16
  • spend much time is another possible option. – Damkerng T. Sep 20 '16 at 21:32
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The expression "lots of" is seen by some English language teachers and examiners to be rather informal. A simple solution is to replace a lot of with many. The noun research, in English, is usually uncountable. @bongbang is right in saying the verb, do and write, are preferable in the gerund form.

University students have to spend many hours doing research and writing reports

Alternatively, one could use any of the following:
numerous hours; a great/good deal of time; considerable; a significant amount of time / number of hours.

Use: amount of + time OR number of + hours

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"A long time" is nice and neutral. "Long hours" is slightly more formal. "Countless hours" is more dramatic. All would work in your context.

PS Participles "doing" and "writing" would sound better in this sentence than the to-infinitives.

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You can use the word shedloads of or a shedload of.

university students have to spend shedloads of time to do research and write reports.

We can also say a shedload of time.

  • Be aware that "shedloads" is British English. American speakers would say "boatloads" or just "loads". – John Feltz Sep 20 '16 at 19:42
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For very long periods of time, you could say a task will take "ages" or "an eternity." For shorter periods of time, you could say a task will take "a while" or "some time."

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