inches are a countable thing (so you would use as many as x inches in standard English), but many people say as much as x inches. How do you distinguish between the situations which use much and many?

Hurricane Gustav caused an estimated $372 million in crop damage, dumping as many as 20 inches of rain, agriculture officials said. - The New York Times

Then, she rephotographs the results, enlarging the photographs to as much as 16 inches by 16 inches. - The New York Times

1 Answer 1


Normally, you would consider "inches" as a measurement and use "as much as". But in certain contexts you may want to imagine each inch as a separate thing - for instance to emphasize the number that fall, or if each inch falls separately or has separate effects ("This is an inch of rain, this is another inch of rain...").

Similarly "X bottles" can refer either to a unit of measurement or to a glass container with fluid in it: "France produces as much as a billion bottles of wine per year" vs "I have as many as five bottles of wine for the party". This would also apply to something like barrels of wine/beer.

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