Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we will answer a question from Mohamed about “a lot” and “lot.”
Please explain the difference between ''lot'' and ''a lot''. I'm usually confused when I have to choose among them.
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Firstly, let us look at the noun “lot”. By itself, “lot” can refer to a set or group of things that can be counted. Here is an example:
The company shipped 1000 lots of the vaccine yesterday.
We can also use “a lot” as an adverb. Like other adverbs, it affects the verb in a statement. This use of “a lot” can mean “often” or “to a greater degree.” Compare these examples:
I go to Indonesian restaurants a lot.
In the above example, “a lot” talks about the number of times I go to Indonesian restaurants.
Their noodles are a lot spicier than other restaurants.
In this example, the noodles have a greater degree of taste compared to noodles elsewhere.
A lot of and lots of
And finally, we have “a lot of” and “lots of.” Both include the preposition “of”, and we use them as quantifiers. We use them to refer to a quantity of something without being exact. These expressions can be used in the same way and there is no difference in meaning, though “lots of” might be considered by some to be more informal.
Note that in these examples “a lot of” and “lots of” come before noncount nouns. They are referring to the same thing.
In the summer you should drink a lot of water.
Doctors advise us to drink lots of water.
I hope this helps you in using these expressions, Mohamed!
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And that’s Ask a Teacher.
I’m Faith Pirlo.
Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
confused – adj. unable to understand clearly
noodle – n. a ribbon-shaped pasta
spicy – adj. having strong flavors
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