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Hi,
I learned that "many" sounds formal when used in affirmative (or positive) sentences (we are considering "many" on its own, not "so many", "too many", etc.). Is that true in American English? Should I always use "a lot" in order to sound natural in everyday conversations? Here are some examples...

I saw that many people were trying to get in there, and then a guy who...
Many women don't have a beard.
There are many English teachers who don't even know what English is, in my opinion.

Should I use "a lot" in order not to sound formal? Or is it that "many" is not really so formal and it's perfectly ok even in very informal English? Thanks. Emotion: smile
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Hi Kooyeen,

I was about to vote for "perfectly okay," and then realized that I really couldn't imagine saying "I saw many people" in a casual conversation. I'd say "a lot of" or "lots" or "tons" or whatever. It's not that "many" is wrong - and you won't stick out like a sore thumb (do you have that idiom in your repertoire yet?) but you're right, it definitely sounds more formal than casual.

And the opposite is true, of course. You can't pretend to be formal if you're saying "lots."
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stick out like a sore thumb: to look very different from everyone or everything around.
Grammar Geek...and you won't stick out like a sore thumb (do you have that idiom in your repertoire yet?) but you're right, it definitely sounds more formal than casual.
I didn't know that idiom, but I guessed the meaning anyway. I see that "many" could sound more formal thna usual in certain cases, but it's not really "formal" or "too formal".
Thank you. Emotion: smile