In an email message, which would be better to say:

How much is the folder size?


What is the folder size?

  • @userr2684291 - While I appreciate the irony, I think this "discrepancy" may provide a clue about intent. Perhaps the O.P. wants the to write the email using conversational English, and wants to know which of the two options sounds more natural. – J.R. Aug 22 '17 at 22:02
  • @J.R. Haha, yeah. I was in the middle of checking their post history but I got sidetracked. Linda: I'll edit the tags, and you can revert the edit if you find it at variance with your original intent. – user3395 Aug 22 '17 at 22:12

How much? asks for a quantity, and suggests you're asking the price of the folder. Ordinarily we say

What size is the folder? if we are asking for a 'stock' size (e.g., 'letter' or 'legal'), or
How big is the folder? if we are asking for dimensions.

These are usual with most 'primary' qualities, such as size, color, height, length, weight and the like.

What color is your umbrella?
How tall is Bob?
What length plank or How long a plank do you need?
What weight does he box at? or How heavy is he?

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    What if the folder they're talking about is a directory in a file system; e.g., on a hard drive? – user3395 Aug 22 '17 at 23:32
  • 2
    @userr2684291 "How big is the folder?" -- assuming that you're asking for a measurement of its contents, so many mb, which we think of as a 'volume' not a 'quantity'. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 22 '17 at 23:38
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    I've been practicing 'What is the size of the folder?' Any difference? Pronoun + auxiliary? or Pronoun + adjective? – Maulik V Aug 23 '17 at 3:22
  • @MaulikV - Your option sounds fine to me. – J.R. Aug 23 '17 at 13:43

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