In the grammatically correct sentence, 'I watch a lot of television', the noun 'television' is an uncountable noun. However, it is grammatically incorrect to say 'I watch much television' with the quantifier 'much' for uncountable nouns. My students threw me off with this question and I was unable to answer it. Why is this the case?

  • 2
    It's certainly grammatical to say I watch much television, it's just not that common. Why do you say it is ungrammatical? – choster Apr 12 '18 at 11:24
  • 3
    Do you watch much television? or I don't watch much television are highly idiomatic. I watch much television is grammatically correct, but not likely produced by native speakers. – KarlG Apr 12 '18 at 11:52
  • The Ngram indicates that 'much television' is more common than 'too much' or 'a lot of' but 'much television' in the Ngram may not refer to watching it but the content of it. – Nigel J Apr 12 '18 at 12:12
  • 'A lot of' is a more colloquial way to express an uncountable noun rather than 'much'. Unless one is saying 'too much'. – Nigel J Apr 12 '18 at 12:13
  • Will it sound better to say I watch too much tv everyday.? – Qian Chen Apr 12 '18 at 18:08

It's just a matter of style. We usually use a lot of and lots of rather than much and many in informal affirmative clauses:

  • She gave me a lot of information. (rather than She gave me much information).
  • I went shopping and spent a lot of money. (rather than I went shopping and spent much money).

Much would sound too formal for the situations above. But it's not that much television is not grammatically correct.

  • It's not style or register, but usage. – KarlG Apr 12 '18 at 11:55
  • To that, we can add consideration of the OP's observation that this isn't a count noun. With count nouns, too, "lots of" or "a lot of" or "a bunch of" tends to replace "many": "I watch a lot of sitcoms." "She gave me lots of leads." "I went shopping and wrote a bunch of checks." I'd be less inclined to use "many" in these, but it would be grammatical if I did. – Green Grasso Holm Apr 12 '18 at 12:56

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