Is there a preferred or more common usage between the phrase "with a ton of xxx" or "with tons of xxx"? Both referring to something having an abundance of something.

  • "tons of" is more common. – mohamed Aug 11 '15 at 21:16
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    If you're English, perhaps with a smidge more X. If you're a New Yorker, with a ton of X. If you're a Valley Girl, with like a billion tons of X, or whatever. – choster Aug 11 '15 at 21:19
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    What does your research show? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 11 '15 at 21:37
  • the second phrase is just more emphatic. You said it yourself, abundance, and more than one ton would be even more abundant, overabundant. – dockeryZ Aug 12 '15 at 1:19

According to the following ngram, "tons of" is the most common:

Source: Google Ngram

enter image description here

  • That only shows that people more often ship tons of things than a single ton of it. – tchrist Aug 11 '15 at 22:22
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    @thmj1332 that's the first times I've ever seen Ngam chart look that. It's very clear. How did you manage to compress the dates, and resize the text? – Mari-Lou A Jul 12 '17 at 10:32
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    @Mari-Lou A, you just need to shrink the size of your browser window and then click Refresh. In this way, the text size is larger relative to the overall size of the graph. I wish more people knew this! – thomj1332 Jul 12 '17 at 17:04
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    @thomj1332 that is nothing short of b.r.i.l.l.i.a.n.t. Oh, I might even retrace all my old answers and use this ingenious workaround on my Ngram charts. mind "explodes" – Mari-Lou A Jul 12 '17 at 17:08
  • @Mari-Lou A and all, Yes. Good idea. And, it doesn't have to be the original author who makes the changes. If folks want to go back and edit any previous illegible Ngram graphs with the better visualization, you get +2 credits for each one! I just did it on this one to see how it was received. Glad it is appreciated. – thomj1332 Jul 12 '17 at 17:13

Yes, they are interchangeable, but here's how I usually use them:

A ton of: countable objects.

Tons of: uncountable objects.

Such-and-so candidate for mayor has tons of charm, but is a little light on the issues. Explanation: charm isn't countable.

She's already got a ton of stuffed animals, let's get her something else for her birthday. Explanation: the stuffed animals are countable.

(Yes, you could also say tons of stuffed animals.)


The use of "tons of something" by LONGMAN Dictionary is given in URL.

tons of "something"


Therefore, the phrase of "tons of ..." also supports both countable plural noun and uncountable singular noun.

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