Diction Exercise (342)

Although not considered acceptable in formal spoken or written contexts, the expressions a lot of, lots of, and a lot are common in colloquial American speech. Choose the version of this idiom that best fits the blanks in the following sentences.

  • Charlie still has _____ friends in Baltimore.

  • Alisha must be having problems; she’s been late to class ____ lately.

  • Many people daydream about having ____ money.

  • Our neighbors buy day-old bread ____ because they live on a tiny income.

  • Omar got the job because he has ____ experience in that kind of research.

Answers and Explanations

1. Charlie still has lots of friends in Baltimore.

One meaning of "lots of" is "several."

2. Alisha must be having problems; she’s been late to class a lot lately.

"A lot" means "a great deal." It is never followed by a noun; "lately" is an adverb.

3. Many people daydream about having lots of money.

One meaning of "lots of" is "a great deal." It is always followed by a noun.

4. Our neighbors buy day-old bread a lot because they live on a tiny income.

The word that follows "a lot" in this sentence is a conjunction. "A lot" will always come at the end of a sentence or a clause.

5. Omar got the job because he has lots of experience in that kind of research.

In this sentence, "lots of" means "a great deal" and is followed by a noun.

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