9

I'm doing my homework. The question is

Is this sentence
Paul drinks much milk.
grammatically correct?

For me the answer is yes, because the quantifier "much" is used before non-count noun. But according my book my answer is wrong. Anybody can help me, please?

17

I think the lesson on Learn English Today is very clear.

A lot of can be used in all sentences: affirmative, negative and interrogative.
Much and many are used in negative and interrogative sentences.
They are rarely used in affirmative sentences, except if they begin the sentence.

So, the sentence in the question is most commonly written or spoken as: "Paul drinks a lot of milk."

The context seems informal, and using "much" in an affirmative gives a more formal tone that sounds odd when used for a simple statement like that one.

Here is an example of using "much" in an affirmative sentence from an article on theguardian.com: "There was much talk last week of how he would be remembered for keeping Britain out of the euro[...]"

It is common to use "much" in a negative, as in: "Paul doesn't drink much milk."

or in a question, like: "How much milk does Paul drink?"

"Much" is also used with too or so, as Damkerng T. points out: "Paul drinks too much milk." or "Paul drinks so much milk!"

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    Another way to make it okay is using so much or too much instead of just much. – Damkerng T. Dec 7 '14 at 16:16
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    I love reading questions on this stack exchange. As a native English speaker, I don't notice some of the weird little rules, that even some really simple words have! I'm glad I didn't have to learn it as a second language! – Adi Bradfield Dec 7 '14 at 18:53
  • @AdiBradfield I enjoy hanging out on ELL because it makes me figure out why something I know intuitively is correct. (And reminds me to be grateful I don't have have to learn English as a second language! There are so many exceptions to the rules.) – ColleenV Dec 7 '14 at 21:57
  • I'd really hate to believe that "rarely used in" and "grammatically correct" are mutually exclusive. But maybe that's a WHOLE other topic. – Dawood ibn Kareem Dec 7 '14 at 22:24
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    @DavidWallace Ah, I see. I answered the question to explain why the book said the sentence wasn't correct, not to answer the question that was in the book. I don't much care for the question "Is this grammatically correct?" because there are a lot of ways to be grammatically correct and still make it impossible for folks to understand you :) I should probably explain more about formal/informal though. I'll give it some thought. – ColleenV Dec 8 '14 at 0:22
0

I think the key is that much isn't about countability, but about emphasizing the increased size when compared to another. Sentences with "much" in them are almost always have an implicit comparison that isn't stated. In your example "Paul drank much milk today" doesn't have an unstated comparison.

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