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What stops you soundng natural when speaking English?

6 years ago
How does this sound?
"I have many friends who are learning English."
Sounds okay right?..Well no, not really. Yes it is grammatically correct but English speakers rarely talk like this.
I can tell you are a non-native speaker by your use of the word 'many'. If I hear someone use it in a positive statement like this - I have many friends - it doesn't sound natural to me!
Let me explain.
First, let's look at the grammar rules for 'many'. We use 'many' to talk about countable nouns. It means an indefinite large amount of things. The opposite (not many) means a few.
We can use it in the following ways:
With questions: "How many employees are working on the product launch?"
With negative statements: "I don't have many bricks. Building this house is going to be a problem."
With positive statements - but this is where the problem occurs. "The journalist asked many questions about the company." Or.."We have many things to discuss today." THIS SOUNDS UNNATURAL! Why? It isn't common to use "many" in this way.
So, my tip for this week is this: Native English speakers mostly use 'a lot of' in a positive statement.
e.g. "The journalist asked a lot of questions." We have a lot of things to discuss today."
You try it!
Leave a 'many' or 'a lot of' statement in the comment box.

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