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A lot of, lots of with a noun

We use a lot of and lots of in informal styles. Lots of is more informal than a lot of. A lot of and lots of can both be used with plural countable nouns and with singular uncountable nouns for affirmatives, negatives, and questions:

  • We’ve got lots of things to do.
  • That’s a lot of money.
  • There weren’t a lot of choices.

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Can we use the quantifiers in formal writings, and is there any substitute for them?

2 Answers 2

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Yes, they can be used in formal writing. More formal-seeming alternatives include "a great deal":

We've a great deal to do.
That's a great deal of money.

"Many" is less formal than that, but more than "a lot":

We've many things to do.

But it can only be used with countable nouns. Don't use:

That's many money.

Then there's are some versions that are formal, but only work in some cases:

There wasn't a wide range of choices.

("Wide range" is singular, so weren't needs to become wasn't)

Other alternatives can be excessively complex/unusual, although they will be understood.

There wasn't a considerable quantity of choices.
That's a considerable quantity of money.

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MANY
ADJECTIVE, PRONOUN, & DETERMINER
A large number of.

as determiner ‘many people agreed with her’
as pronoun ‘the solution to many of our problems’
‘many think bungee jumping is a new craze’
as adjective ‘one of my many errors’

Many is a more formal phrasing than "lots of".

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