[A] Haven’t they sold many tickets?
[B] Haven’t they sold a lot of tickets?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, there's a difference in meaning here.
When we use much and many in negative questions, we are usually expecting that a large quantity of something isn’t there. When we use a lot of and lots of in negative questions, we are usually expecting a large quantity of something.
Is this distinction clear to native speakers? Do they actually use it and understand it the way it's described?
I'm having a bit of a hard time trying to understand it myself.
Why does using many/much show that we expect there's a small quantity of something?
Why does using a lot of show that we expect a large quantity of something?