Is the word "much" used in affirmative sentences?


I want to buy much milk.

I know that "much" is used in negative sentences and questions, but I am not sure if using it in affirmative sentences is grammatically correct.

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    I'm voting to migrate to English Language Learners. @Mag: - your version isn't idiomatic, but interestingly, Do you want to buy much milk? is syntactically normal. More commonly, I have much money is non-idiomatic, whereas Do you have much money? is perfectly natural. – FumbleFingers Jul 31 '17 at 12:07
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    While technically correct, no native speaker would use that particular turn of phrase. It's awkward. "Too much milk" and "not much milk" are fine. "I need to buy a lot of milk" would be acceptable. – Ricky Jul 31 '17 at 12:08
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    @Ricky I would actually use this, but only for the humourous non-standard aspect. That as well as 'much milk needs to be bought' (say for particularly vast quantities). I agree it is not common practice. – marcellothearcane Jul 31 '17 at 12:15
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    @marcellothearcane: Well, yeah, but humor is a whole separate issue, and can't be taught. – Ricky Jul 31 '17 at 12:22
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    Much obliged and much appreciated are standard shorthand for Thank you. – Yosef Baskin Jul 31 '17 at 12:37

There is more in that question than meets the eye.

Much is correct in the affirmative (a large quantity or amount, see American Heritage). It so happens that it is a) slightly archaic b) not often used with concrete words (water, butter, etc.) or ordinary quantities (money). Hence that would sound a little passé in normal conversation:

I bought much milk.

Compared to:

I bought a lot of milk.

My best guess: much still belongs to an educated register and more likely to be used with set phrases:

I am much obliged.

You will avoid much grief.

He knows much.

Much ado about nothing.

Aside of much + comparative, which also belongs to spoken language:

It's much better.

By contrast a lot is informal and not particularly advisable in written style. One would write:

A large quantity of water

A large amount of butter

A lot did displace much but that leaves an awkward gap in formal language, requiring clunky periphrases. Hence I would argue that:

He bought much milk.

still does have its place in formal style, for brevity. But that would probably be a matter of opinion.

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