1

With the context that plural of manga is manga, what would be the correct use? Manga is basically, japanese comics if anyone doesn't know.

My quick google, and limited grammar knowledge says much is with uncountable nouns and many with countable nouns. manga is a countable noun (I think), since you can count how many you read, just like comics. So I think many is the correct answer?

So which phrase would be correct?

  1. "You read too much manga."

  2. "You read too many manga."

For what it's worth, I have rarely seen anyone use many and google results for "too much manga" is almost 5 times more than "too many manga" (with quotes). Is it a wrong that somehow everyone is used to?

I got a similar example.

It's "You watch too much television" not "You watch too many television". Is this because television here is considered a medium, hence abstract and uncountable? Can the same be applied to my question?

  • 4
    much sounds more natural to me. It is a genre that isn't pluralized like "science fiction" or fantasy. You read too much science fiction is proper to me. However for manga either could be used, one would refer to the genre in general, while the other refers to the amount of (likely different series) books read. – katatahito Jul 29 '19 at 0:53
  • clearly it's "too many mangas" ;-] – user91988 Jul 29 '19 at 21:03
5

What it comes down to is if manga is (or is used as) a count noun or a mass noun. Also, if it is used as a count noun, the interpretation of the sentences relies on how the plural version is spelled.


Lexico (Oxford) defines manga as only a mass noun:

noun
[mass noun]

A style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children.

‘Takahashi is an artist who truly represents the very best from the world of manga’


Merriam-Webster provides both a mass noun and a count noun definition of manga; it also provides different spellings of its plural use:

plural manga also mangas

: Japanese comic books and graphic novels considered collectively as a genre
// The characters' faces beam the big-eyed, manically jolly winsomeness that in anime and manga signals contentment.
— Peter Schjeldahl
also : an individual comic book or graphic novel of the manga genre
// This black-and-white manga is based on the Japanese animated TV series of the same name …
— Library Journal


Macmillan indicates that manga is both countable and uncountable, although it doesn't specify a plural spelling of its countable sense:

noun [countable/uncountable]

Japanese comics or cartoons with stories that are aimed at adults as well as children


Cambridge Dictionary, like Macmillan, gives both countable and uncountable versions of manga, but doesn't indicate a plural spelling for the countable sense:

noun [ C or U ]

Japanese comic books that tell stories in pictures


Much is used with mass nouns and many is used with count nouns.

In some cases, the same word can be used in both senses:

✔ I ate too much sheep. [mass noun]
✔ I ate too many sheep. [count noun, plural with singular spelling]

The context will determine if you're talking about an amount of sheep meat (mass noun) or about a number of animals (count noun).


Based on that, and assuming all of the possibilities of the dictionary definitions given, any of these sentences could be considered correct:

✔ You read too much manga. [mass noun]
? You read too many manga. [count noun, plural with singular spelling]
? You read too many mangas. [count noun, plural with plural spelling]

What's correct will also depend on which senses of manga are taken to be acceptable—and, if the count noun sense is, which spelling is used for its plural form.

  • If you don't consider manga to be usable as a count noun, then only the first sentence would be considered acceptable.
  • If you accept the count-noun sense of manga and think its plural spelling is the same as its singular spelling, then only the first and second sentences would be considered correct.
  • If you accept the count-noun sense of manga and think its plural spelling is different from its singular spelling, then only the first and third sentences would be considered correct.

(Of course, you could also accept both spellings of the plural form of the count noun—just as the plural spelling of fish can be either fish or fishes. In that case, all three sentences could be considered correct. It's likely, however, you'd prefer one spelling over the other.)

As a consensus, all of the cited sources agree on the correctness of the first sentence.

Given that different sources seem to say different things about the count-noun status of manga—as well as its spelling—the correctness of the other sentences could be thought of as a matter of style. Or, if not style per se, at least specific to a particular dictionary or use.

  • 1
    Your sheep example is the answer here for manga, IMO; it can be used both ways. – Carly Jul 29 '19 at 20:44
  • @Carly I disagree. Manga is not a singular noun. You cannot "read a manga". You can read a manga series, though, or just read manga. – user91988 Jul 29 '19 at 21:05
  • Some manga stories are short. Others run to 25 plus volumes. The same problem arises whether you read 25 short ones or one Moby Dick of a manga. – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 29 '19 at 21:33
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    @only_pro you can read a manga. Which manga are you reading? Im reading Sci-Fi Odyssey 3000. Oh, I like that manga. – Carly Jul 29 '19 at 23:40
  • @Carly No one I know uses it like this. Maybe it's different depending on the community, though. – user91988 Jul 30 '19 at 16:16
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Technically, both are correct, albeit the type of manga is described when using too many. The following sentences would be grammatically correct:

You drink too many (types of) water.

You drink too much freshwater.

You would hear someone say "many types" infinitesimally more often than you would hear someone say "much types" because much refers to everything under a single noun (e.g., water, milk), while many acknowledges and defines the individual scopes, or categories, within that noun (e.g., saltwater, freshwater, strawberry milk, chocolate milk). In order to use "too many" in the same sentence as water or milk, you usually have to specify the term that subdivides it from its derivative noun.

If you know someone who does an abundance of work, you would tell them:

"You do too much work."

If you know that person's work consists of various jobs, you might say:

"You do too many jobs."

Too many manga means that there is an abundance of a certain type of manga. Too much manga means that there is an overall abundance of manga, not limiting the scope by type.

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