The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'may' and 'many'?

What is the difference between 'may' and 'many'?

What is the difference between 'may' and 'many'?

The words may and many are often confused because they appear similar. We'll help you to understand the difference.

Many means an indefinite large number of when used as a determiner.

Many is also used as a pronoun. It means a collective mass of people.

Out of the two words, 'may' is the most common.



### Which is correct ', it may be' or ', it many be'? You should use ', it may be'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

Which is correct 'may be able to' or 'many be able to'?

The correct expression is 'may be able to'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Which is correct 'may or may not' or 'many or many not'?

The right expression is 'may or may not'. These phrases are often confused because they appear similar.

Should I use 'may or may not' or 'many or many not'?

The right expression is 'may or may not'. These phrases are often confused because they appear similar.

Is the right expression ', which may be' or ', which many be'?

You should use ', which may be'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

Is the phrase 'too many chiefs' or 'too may chiefs'?

The right phrase is 'too many chiefs'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Some synonyms of may are: hawthorn, crataegus oxycantha, crataegus laevigata, whitethorn, english hawthorn.

Some synonyms of many are: umteen, more, much, many another, many a.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Examples of may in a sentence

But I think Waldo may be rather more realistic.
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
She may have called herself Ouskaya, but that didn’t hide her true nature.
- The Haunted Air by F. Paul Wilson
How may we help you?
- Nothing gold can stay by Dana Stabenow
And if he can't get to Cassie, he may just come up with the notion to get to her through them.
- The heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts
His brother claimed not to remember anything about April, which may have been the truth.
- In the night room: a novel by Peter Straub

Examples of many in a sentence

I dreaded the many hours that stretched out in front of me with Destiny as my traveling companion.
- Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
His eyes had no light, and his smile displayed too many teeth, all of them yellow.
- In the night room: a novel by Peter Straub
How many legions overcome?
- The collected poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson; Rachel Wetzsteon
No, because that's just how we talk about war, in many ways and for many purposes.
- Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Garion had spent many hours riding -sometimes for weeks on end.
- Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings

Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.

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