I want to say that I remember a name if I hear it three or four times. Which of these two sentences can express the meaning better?

I remember a name if I hear it multiple times.


I remember a name if I hear it many times.

I hope you will answer these sub-questions as well:

  • Which sentence sounds more natural?
  • Are they both OK to use (they have no grammar mistakes)?
  • Which sentence can express the meaning more clearly?

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  • 1
    "many" is generally 'more' than "multiple", I'd say: "multiple" doesn't have a precise number but I think most people, if forced to choose a number, would take it to mean "three or more", similar to the word "several". Many has a connotation of being a higher number, I think. – Max Williams Jul 22 '16 at 15:07
  • In your specific example, multiple isn't very likely (per this NGram, multiple times virtually flatlines against many times). But it would be acceptable in, say Residents reported hearing multiple gunshots before the police arrived. Where multiple might imply just more than one or two, as against many meaning a lot. – FumbleFingers Jul 22 '16 at 15:09
  • 2
    Other possibilities are "several times" or "a few times". And it's perfectly OK to just say "three or four times" if that's what you mean. – David K Jul 22 '16 at 15:38
  • 1
    Questions which lack results of research are out of scope. Writing advice requests are out of scope. Proofreading requests are out of scope. For an introduction to the site, take the Tour. For help writing a good question, see How to Ask. – MetaEd Jul 22 '16 at 17:21
  • 2
    As has been mentioned in comments (more than once, but not several times), a much more likely single word to replace and imply much the same as your three or four times is in fact several. But all these and many other alternatives are perfectly "natural" in the sense that native speakers will use them without a second thought if the precise value range and other nuances reflect what they want to convey to the listener. – FumbleFingers Jul 22 '16 at 18:28

Three or four times is equal to "a few times", which would be correct in this context.

  • 3
    Do not answer questions which should be closed. An unsupported statement is not useful and may be subject to deletion even if it is correct. For an introduction to the site, take the Tour. For help writing a good answer, see How to Answer. – MetaEd Jul 22 '16 at 17:21
  • That's weird, because most answers you don't find useful, I and others most definitely do. – Daniel Mar 17 '18 at 18:18

Every time I hear someone use "multiple" when "many" is the right word, I want to throw up. It's that bad for those of us who speak English correctly.

'Multiple' means 'containing many subparts'. A multiple homicide is a killing that involves many individual homicides. A multiple orgasm is an orgasm that is made up of many distinct parts, each of which qualifies as an orgasm in its own right. A multiple vitamin, or multi-vitamin, is a vitamin that contains more than one vitamin.

If what you mean is that there are many instances of a thing, and not that the thing is made of many subparts that each qualify in their own right as instances of the thing itself, then the word you want is 'many' or 'several', not 'multiple'.

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