I came across the following text and I'm not sure what's the meaning of "as many as":

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are rampant, and increasing as of 2013 with 1 in 26 adult Greenlandic citizen suffering from Gonorrhea, 300 times as many as in Denmark. Syfilis is also present. (source)

Does it mean that in this fact happens in Greenland 300 times more than in Denmark? If so, what's the usage of "as many as" for, while this structure for compassion for equal things as far as I know. Isn't it?


Yes you are right, though the text is poorly worded.

"as many as", implies an integral countable quantity, but the context implies it is the rate (non-integral ratio) that is 300 times that of Denmark (one would hardly expect there to be 300 times the people in Greenland as Denmark). It is thus used incorrectly. "as much as" would be better.

  • Note the source of the quote is a non-native English speaker (as evidenced by the Danish spelling of "syphilis", something an English doctor wouldn't do) – James K Aug 3 '18 at 7:48

... 300 times as many as [are suffering from the disease] in Denmark.

This may be imprecise in its use of language, but it is a well-formed comparative phrase in the original. It is elliptical. If their populations were equal, there would be 300 times as many Greenlanders with the disease as Danes with the disease.

We had 10 burglaries in June, five times as many as in May.

  • Thank you. But if so, why not not to say simply "more" instead of "as many as"? – Judicious Allure Aug 3 '18 at 12:59
  • Why not practice safe sex? Speakers and actors say and do wayward things. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 3 '18 at 13:00
  • But more doesn't address the issue of the imprecision any better than many. What would be clearer is ... a rate 300 times higher than in Denmark. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 3 '18 at 13:07
  • Agreed. "A rate" would be perfect – Paul Childs Aug 4 '18 at 8:52

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.