Unit 12 – Writing task 2 – How to describe a topic with ‘Many’ and ‘Little’

If you notice, in the opening and closing sections we have written, there is a term used quite a lot, that is: more and less. We write many sentences like: there are many ways, there are many reasons, there are many causes … You can see that at one point, I cannot rely on “many” and ” a lot of “forever. You need to know other ways to say more and less.

A. Many

Apart from “many” and “a lot of”, there are several other ways you can use to say “many”. I will divide into two categories, “many” and “many and different”

a. Many:

many (many reasons)

a lot of (a lot of causes)

a myriad of (ways)

plenty of (resources)

a number of (choices)

countless / innumerable (people)

Some examples of possible nouns

With just the words above, you have expressed quite a lot of quantity already. Notice that the word pair at the bottom of “countless/innumerable” means quite heavy, not only many but also “countless, uncountable“, so you have to choose carefully accordingly.

For example you might say: Countless people prefer university. Many listeners still make sense, but avoid using “countless reasons“, because it’s obvious that the reason you listed only a few.

Apart from the above words, there is also a small branch of many “majority”.

a large part of

the majority of

most of

b, Just as much as different

We have a more specific meaning, “diversity”. To say “diverse”, you will have the following expressions:


a variety of

a wide variety of

a range of

many / a lot of / … (words above) + different

If you want to name and focus on categories, you should use the words above. They are more colorful than the “many” words listed earlier. For example, instead of “a lot of options“, you can use “various options“. Notice, the terms “more and more different” listed here should be avoided for people. We hardly say “a variety of people“, but we absolutely can say “a variety of food“. Don’t try to explain this in your native language (oh, but in my country follow this way), I’m learning English, and English speakers don’t think like that.

B. Little

Less” is also … less words. In fact, we say “a lot” in IELTS more than “a little” is a lot, but “less” has a lot of good expressions:

a. Basic:

few / little

(only) a handful of …

(only) a selected few …

Notice the word “only” here is used to emphasize the meaning (that’s all there is …)

b. Limited, rare



The words above refer to something that has a limited amount and is likely to run out. They are great if placed next to the words “resources“. You shouldn’t think of “resources” as just about “resources,” and its meaning is broad. It can be human resources, financial resources or intellectual resources. In addition, you can use words like resources, which means a “reserve” for something like: supply, funding, capabilities, …

c. Rare

This is the stronger word for “limited”. There are 2 common ways of saying “rare”, they are:



You can associate the two words with any word that comes with the words “limited”. For example, instead of limited supply, it could be scarce supply, scarce resources.

d. Not enough

If you use “not enough”, it is completely OK. I just introduce some more words for us to change the wind:



The meaning is not enough, it is often used: not enough money, not enough time, not enough resources, …

For example: The inadequate supply of workers has led to a rise in salary.

Wish you all good study!