0

Can one use

a. Too many cookies are bad for you.

instead of

b. Having too many cookies is bad for you.

=================

Can one use

c. Many cookies are bad for you.

instead of

d. Having many cookies is bad for you.

=====================

Can one use 'is' instead of 'are' in (a) and (c)?

One meaning of (c) is: There are many cookies that are bad for you. (Some aren't bad, but many are.)

I am not sure that (c) can be used instead of (d) though.

Many thanks.

  • A and B can mean different things, and C and D definitely mean different things. – Robusto Apr 3 '18 at 3:36
1

b) Having too many cookies is bad for you.

This sentence is not clear: have could mean own (meaning 1 in the Oxford Dictionary) or consume (meaning 4.2).

a) Too many cookies are bad for you.

Although this doesn't state what you are doing with the cookies, this is actually clearer and more natural: the listener will assume that you are referring to eating too many cookies.

c) Many cookies are bad for you.

In my opinion, this can only have the meaning that you suggested: some (but not all) types of cookie are bad for you.

d) Having many cookies is bad for you.

This sentence suffers from the confusion over owning and consuming: also, we don't tend to use many in his context: it is too formal, and it carries overtones of a large proportion of those in a group as in sentence c. a lot of would work better. Sentence d would therefore be better written as

eating a lot of cookies is bad for you.

  • Well, while logically I agree that sentence is ambiguous, no one will really think that simple possession of cookies can cause problems. It's usually the eating that leads to misery and regret, in any language. – Andrew Apr 3 '18 at 5:03
  • @Andrew depends where you store them :-) Seriously, I agree that having is understandable, but in my opinion it is not natural, and I am trying to explain why. I don't say it's wrong: it simply say that it's not clear. – JavaLatte Apr 3 '18 at 8:44
  • I would argue that when referring to eating too many cookies you have to use singular, not plural: "too many cookies is bad for you", not "are". "Too many cookies are bad for you" is more like "there are kinds of cookies that are bad for you, and there's too many of them" to me. – Kreiri Apr 3 '18 at 9:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.