I want to know when I should use How many of... over How many... I have seen both of them, but don't know how the grammar works behind


How many of them do you know?

How many languages do you speak?


The real grammatical and syntactical differentiation between your examples is that "many of" is used along with pronouns(such as them), and determiners( such as the/his/their, etc. ). Besides, there is not too much difference in meaning between them;hence, it really depends upon the context.

Conclusion - Reference:

1) many of + pronoun / determiner + plural countable noun;

2) many of + [personal] pronoun;

3) many + plural countable noun;

4) many + a + singular countable noun ( a similar meaning to 3), yet more formal );

5) the + many + plural countable noun ( a more definite meaning );

Nevertheless, "Many" can be used in the comparative structures as well as a pronoun ( recommended for more formal occasions ).


I did not have as many opportunities as you did.

Many knew she was going to vomit at the party. ( = 'Many of the people present knew ..... ')


Them is a personal pronoun that you use when you refer back to people/creatures/items that you have already mentioned.

So, in this context your first question would be:

How many languages do you speak?

And if you followed up, wanting to know more about these languages, you might ask:

How many of them did you learn at school?

Of them is another way of saying of these languages.

  • 'How many' in "How many languages...." is adjectival, whereas, "How many of the languages" has 'How many' like a Pronoun.
    – Ram Pillai
    May 19 '20 at 3:58

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