+0
Hi,

The following three sentences all seem fine to me:

- "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute too long, they will be overcooked."

- "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute more than needed, they will be overcooked."

- "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute longer than needed, they will be overcooked."

But what about these two?

- "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute too many, they will be overcooked."

- "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute too much, they will be overcooked."

Granted, they may not be the perfect choices here, but I can definitely picture myself using the phrase "one minute too many" in some contexts, and "one minute too much" in others. I'm having a hard time with this one. I would appreciate if someone could help me.
Comments  
Definitely not idiomatic! If I think of a way to explain it, I'll come back.

You could say something like, "Seven minutes could be too long / too many / too much."

I'm having a hard time with it too, but your instincts and mine seem to agree on this one.
AvangiDefinitely not idiomatic! If I think of a way to explain it, I'll come back.
I can't explain it, but "one minute too many" seems somewhat more natural in the following context:

"I only had to wait one minute in that pigsty they call a waiting room, but it was one minute too many if you ask me."

What gives? Also, a Google search for the phrase "one minute too long" only returned 30 pages of results, which surprises me because I don't think there's anything wrong with it. You'd think it would be a little more common.

Please let me know when you come up with an explanation. This all seems very confusing to me all of a sudden.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hi Marvin,

It depends if you think of these minutes as a block of time, or as individual things that go one by one. When you are doing someting unpleasant and you feel each minute passing, then "one minute more" or "one minute too many" can make sense.

When you think of something like the cookies' baking time, it's a unit.

It's why we say things like "ten minutes wasn't too long to wait" instead of "weren't." or "$100 is a fair price" instead of "are."

If you go to a movie, and you pay $10 for a ticket and enjoy the movie, you'd say "That $10 was well spent." But if you bought ten different lottery tickets and each one was a winner, then you may say "Those $10 were well spent" since you used each dollar individually.
MarvinTheMartiana Google search for the phrase "one minute too long" only returned 30 pages of results
Hi Marvin
Just a quick observation: I get 3 times more Google results for "a minute too long" than I get for "one minute too long".
Grammar GeekIt depends if you think of these minutes as a block of time, or as individual things that go one by one. When you are doing someting unpleasant and you feel each minute passing, then "one minute more" or "one minute too many" can make sense.
Thank you. This confirms my initial instinct.
Grammar GeekWhen you think of something like the cookies' baking time, it's a unit.
Agreed. When I'm cooking, I tend to think of time in terms of "pre-determined numbers of minutes". So, if indeed minutes are seen as individual units in this context, does it make the following sentence correct?

"If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute too many, they will be overbaked?"

Would you say that "too long" and "too many" are more or less interchangeable in this particular context?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
It all depends on how you think of them. I wouldn't say either is right or wrong.

I would say "one minute too long" for baking time, but I understand what you mean.
MarvinTheMartian Would you say that "too long" and "too many" are more or less interchangeable in this particular context?
You can't say "X is too long" and "X is/are too many" without making some alteration in "X."

You may use both expressions to describe the same thing in the same context. But when you switch from one to the other, you must also make an adjustment in the noun they describe.

An exception might be when the same term may be understood in two ways, as to countable and uncountable. For example, "cups," in a case of "much" vs. "many."

A: I hope I've put enough water.
B: How much did you put?
A: Seven cups. (seven cups are too many / seven cups of water is too much water)
B: That's too many! OR That's too much!

This only works because the details are elipsed in the conversation.

Edit.<< "If you leave the cookies in the oven one minute too many, they will be overbaked?" >>

Sorry, guys! Right - this one works. (I guess you knew that!) I must have misread somehow. I'm still working to fit the block of time into my portfolio.