When can we use 'much' in affirmative clauses?



I found the below in Cambridge Dictionary web-site:

We use much in questions and negative clauses to talk about degrees of something.

We don’t use much in affirmative clauses.

Also, it the same web-site, I found the following:

She runs much faster than he does. here

also I noticed that some web-sites use much with affirmative clauses:

May we all be having this much fun and getting this much exercise when we're his age! PJ Media

Is it Okey to use much in affirmative clauses? If yes, when can we use it? and what is the rules?


Here is another example on how often the word "much" is used in informal style:

After much consideration I will NOT be performing at the Inauguration with my improv group Capitol Hill-arious Ike Barinholtz


Posted 2017-02-13T08:17:03.877

Reputation: 4 372

1There is much more to the word "much" than this question reveals :) – mplungjan – 2017-02-13T09:12:18.677

6When determinative "much" is used as a determiner, it is mostly restricted to non-affirmative contexts ("We don't have much money"). But in examples like "She runs much faster than he does", "much is not a determiner but a degree modifier. That's the difference. – BillJ – 2017-02-13T09:28:57.847

2@BillJ That is terrible wording then. Dictionaries should be careful when they say stuff like that, learners aren't supposed to doubt what they read in them. – Teleporting Goat – 2017-02-13T09:36:45.647


This question about Paul drinks much milk. might be helpful.

– ColleenV – 2017-02-13T12:42:18.027



It depends how you use much. Looking at the first sentence you quoted, it is clear that much qualifies the comparative adverb faster.

She runs much faster than he does.

If you use the simple adverb rather than the comparative, it doesn't work:

She runs much fast -wrong
She runs a lot fast -wrong
She runs very fast OK

If you remove the last half of the sentence so that much qualifies the whole sentence, it doesn't work, but it's OK if you use a lot instead or if you change it to a negative statement:

She runs much - wrong
She runs a lot - OK
She doesn't run much - OK

Looking at the other sentences you quoted:

May we all be having this much fun and getting this much exercise when we're his age!

After much consideration I will NOT be performing at the Inauguration with my improv group

In these examples, much qualifies a non-count noun, not a sentence. That is covered by this page.

Note that, when qualifying a noun, a lot of is more likely to be used than much. unless it follows some other qualifier like this, how, too or very, where one cannot use a lot of.

Let's look at the situation when much qualifies an adjective:

He is much good - wrong
He is a lot good - wrong
He is much better - OK, because better is a comparative adjective
He is very good - OK
He is not much good - OK
He has done much good - OK, because good is a non-count noun in this context

To sum up:

If much qualifies a simple adverb, a simple adjective or the whole sentence, you can use it in a negative sentence but you can't use it in an affirmative sentence- you must use a lot for sentences and very for simple adverbs and simple adjectives.

If it qualifies a comparative adverb or a comparative adjective, you can use it in negative and affirmative sentences.

If it qualifies a non-count noun, you can use it in negative and affirmative sentences, though usage in affirmative sentences is rare unless it is preceded by a further qualifier.


Posted 2017-02-13T08:17:03.877

Reputation: 43 538

Don't you think it often sounds awkward if you use 'much' with nouns in affirmative sentences? Would you really say something like: "There is much water on the floor."? – fluffy – 2017-02-25T15:46:42.803


Old fashioned, maybe, but not wrong. Next to a formal word like consideration, it seems appropriate, and much water is used in the stock phrase "much water has flowed under the bridge" https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=CEkyo7Wb7hgC&pg=PA15&dq=%22much+water+has%22&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22much%20water%20has%22&f=false

– JavaLatte – 2017-02-25T22:45:18.647

No matter how many times I repeat it, "We need much sugar for this cake." still does not sound alright. There are restrictions as to when you can use 'much' to modify a noun in affirmative sentences. Try using it to qualify something other than a subject and/or an abstract noun. – fluffy – 2017-02-26T11:02:23.643

1+1 to JavaLatte. @fluffy: This cake recipe uses much sugar is a perfectly normal sentence, and Does this cake recipe use much sugar? is a perfectly normal question. We have much work to do. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2017-03-01T14:12:01.000


Much [as a determiner] sounds very formal in positive statements. It is usually better to say a lot of:

There was a lot of food left.

✗ Don’t say: There was much food left.

Source: Dictionary of Contemporary English

The examples you provided, except for the one before faster which is an adverb, sounds formal to me although it seems they were intended to be humorously said in a formal style (..much consideration..., May we..). In addition, this much is considered to be spoken, it's not just much alone it's more like combinations of so much, too much, and how much.


Posted 2017-02-13T08:17:03.877

Reputation: 7 422

While "a lot" is informal, "much" is hardly "very formal". – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2017-03-01T14:07:48.627

@TRomano Please post your comment on Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English website, they could use a suggestion then. I'm just directly quoting.

– Yuri – 2017-03-01T17:04:45.687

Understood that you were quoting. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2017-03-01T18:15:21.690