When I was speaking, I said, "There is so much of administration to do." Someone said to me that I have to say it as "There is so much administration to do." Is she correct? Why can't I say, "so much of". I've always been saying that and so do many people.

  • 2
    We generally use of after so much, if the noun phrase comes after so much have a determiner (e.g. a, an, the) or pronoun (e.g. my) before the head. Example - so much of a work. When there is no determiner or pronoun, we need not use of. Jan 30, 2015 at 8:27
  • @Man_From_India you mean so much of an administration is correct?
    – Maulik V
    Jan 30, 2015 at 8:51
  • @MaulikV I think so... Jan 30, 2015 at 11:35
  • @Man_From_India, Maulik It is grammatically correct, but quite unusual. However, we could have the sentence: It's not so much of an administration as a government in waiting. The reason that an administration wouldn't work in the OP's question is because they are using the non-countable sense of the word administration, and this usage cannot take an indefinite article (we only use an indefinitie article with singular countable nouns) :-) Jan 30, 2015 at 12:08
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    @Araucaria thanks for clarifying. I was just thinking what was wrong with much of an administration, but according to the grammar it is correct :) Jan 30, 2015 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


Determiners are words like: a, the, this, that, my, your, no, one, two, many, much.

If a noun already has a determiner, we can't also use the determiners much or many with that noun:

  • *much the work, *much our water, *much which water (ungrammatical)
  • *many the people, *many my friends, *many these people (ungrammatical)

We also cannot use much or many with pronouns:

  • *many them,*many us, *much it (ungrammatical)

When we want to use much or many with these phrases, we need to use a preposition phrase with the preposition of:

  • much of the work, much of our water, much of that paper
  • many of the people, many of my friends, many of these animals
  • many of them, many of us, much of it

If the noun doesn't already have a determiner, we do not need to use the preposition of when we use the determiners much or many:

  • much time, much water, much effort, much paper
  • many people, many friends, many animals

The Original Poster's example

In the Original Poster's example they use the uncountable noun administration without another determiner apart from much. Because of this the OP doesn't need to use the preposition of:

There is so much administration to do.

*There is so much of administration to do. (ungrammatical)

However, if they wanted to use another determiner with the noun administration, then they would have to use much of. Here are some examples with the determiner this:

*There is so much this administration to do. (ungrammatical)

There is so much of this administration to do.

Hope this is helpful!


The only two examples I can think of when it's correct to say 'so much of' instead of 'so much' is either when you're specifying who the paperwork (or administration in your example) belongs to:

  1. There is so much paperwork to do
  2. There is so much of his paperwork to do
  3. There is so much of my paperwork to do
  4. There is so much of their paperwork to do

Or the term 'so much' isn't immediately followed by the thing you're talking about:

  1. Look at all this paperwork I have, I have so much of it!

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