learn it! title
A lot of things about 'lots of'
a lot of cars

Yuriko from Japan asks:

Question 1: I would like to know which sentence is correct: 'there are lots of cars in the road' or 'there are lot of cars in the road.'

Question 2: I would like to ask something about agreement: if we want to connect two noun phrase, and they contain both singular meaning, in that case we should use is or are? For example: how about studying and fishing? Should I say 'Studying and fishing is my hobby' or 'Studying and fishing are my hobbies'?


Debi Arnold, a language specialist, replies:

1. The correct version is:

  • 'There are lots of cars'.
We can also say:
  • 'There are a lot of cars'.

The two forms mean exactly the same thing. Lots of is simply more informal than a lot of. They are more common than much or many in affirmative sentences.

You can use both expressions with singular (uncountable) or plural nouns. Just make sure your verb agrees if a lot of or lots of refer to the subject of your sentence. Have a look at these examples:

uncountable noun, singular verb:

  • 'There's still lots of work to do.'
  • 'A lot of time is wasted in meetings.'
plural noun, plural verb:
  • 'A lot of people were affected by the storm.'
  • 'There are lots of interesting things to do here.

In negative sentences or questions, you can use much, many or a lot of.

'much' with uncountable nouns
  • 'I don't have much time.'
  • 'How much does it cost?'

'many' with countable nouns

  • 'I haven't seen many films this year.'
  • 'Have you read many books in English?'
'a lot of' with countable or uncountable nouns
  • 'I haven't seen a lot of films this year.'
  • 'Have you read a lot of books in English?'
2 The correct version is:
  • 'Studying and fishing are my hobbies'.
Or, even better:
    'My hobbies are studying and fishing'.
As you can see, we use a plural verb. It doesn't matter if the individual words are singular, the fact of linking them with 'and' makes a plural.