3

I thought that one would write too many vertices but after seing too much vertices written somewhere, I checked on Google:

  • too many vertices yields 17,300 results

  • too much vertices yields 10,800 results

A lot of people seem to be using much even though vertices can be counted. Hence my question:

Is too much vertices correct?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

  • 1
    If you search for them with quotes around them (forcing Google to find the exact phrase), "too many vertices" returns 178000 results and "too much vertices" returns 16000. "much" is wrong and sounds really odd. – Millie Smith Nov 14 '14 at 4:26
  • 1
    @MillieSmith Yes, you must, must, must use quotes when searching for phrases, like this. Searching without quotes essentially just asks Google to find pages that contain both the word "much" and the word "vertex". – David Richerby Nov 14 '14 at 9:38
  • @MillieSmith: I think the OP searched with quotes. I get a disappointing 17,300 results as well for too many. I wonder where your google found the extra 150k+? – oerkelens Nov 14 '14 at 12:22
12

If you page through the Google results for "too much vertices" you'll find it peters out at Page 7 of about 69 results (or considerably earlier if you've configured for more results per page).

If you do the same with "too many vertices" you'll find it gets to Page 7 of about 186,000 results.

This is just a quirk of Google's indexing system (which initially is significantly biased in respect of how common each individual word is (or each consecutive word-pair, in a longer search string). In reality, since vertexes/vertices are plural forms of a "countable" noun, much is invalid here, and only many is correct.

  • +1 There's also the fact that much and vertices may be in different sentences too! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Nov 13 '14 at 23:34
  • @Araucaria Agreed. I just googled them with quotes and "too many vertices" has way more results. – Millie Smith Nov 14 '14 at 4:27
  • I agree with the conclusion, but this omission is relevant: If you go about 22 pages into google for "too many vertices" it also stops and mentions there are 217 displayed results. – Dennis Jaheruddin Nov 14 '14 at 10:45
  • Google seems to be broken, because it refuses to give me more than 17,300 results for too many vertices - even on your link. It seems Google has removed some 150,000+ instances of that phrase from the interwebs in the last 19 hours - or my Google is broken. I want a new one. – oerkelens Nov 14 '14 at 12:25
  • @Dennis: I don't know how Google decides the maximum results it'll return, but they massively reduced the limit a couple of years ago. Even if you search for just the word and it stops at 343, but I figure there's at least some "meaning" to the fact of it petering out after less than 70 results. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 14 '14 at 13:00
8

Your first impulse is correct: vertices is the plural of vertex and requires a 'count' modifier: too many, not too much.

The lesson in this is never, ever trust those numbers that Google reports. They are pure guesses, based on a sampling algorithm which is wholly unreliable. In fact, if you start paging through the actual hits you will find that Google can actually show there are only 150 and more than half of those are duplicates.

  • That is just a variant of the classic "Don't use a statistics result when you do not know or understand it's math" I think. If you do, the Google counts can be very useful. – Volker Siegel Nov 14 '14 at 4:43
  • @VolkerSiegel I would be pleased to learn what those 'counts' are useful for, and what are they in fact 'counting'. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 14 '14 at 14:06
  • The main point is to not see them as "counts" as in numbers of specified items, but use them as measures of some aspect of something. We do not know the "definition" of the measures, so we can not compare them to anything else, strictly speaking. But we can compare the measures to other measures of the same kind - which tells us something about the relation of two items, like the frequency of occurrence of two ngram. It can only be used in a relative way. But that can be very useful! – Volker Siegel Nov 14 '14 at 14:25
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    @Volker But the problem I think everybody who's tried to work with those values as indices to use is that we cannot rely on relative magnitudes to be meaningful either. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 14 '14 at 15:40
3

Your first instinct is right: vertices are countable, therefore they use many as a quantifier, not much.

A better way to check usage tendencies is Google's Ngram Viewer. We can see that "many vertices" is a phrase in use (increasing in use over the last century or so), while "much vertices" doesn't even show up in their corpus of English works. Here's the result from the Ngram search I performed: ngram search for 'much vertices' and 'many vertices'

As you can see, there's an error message at the top:

Ngrams not found: much vertices

2

Much/many depends on number - singular/plural.
One vertex, many vertices.

e.g. much money: many coins.

imo, anything else is incorrect.

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