Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

"Many" in So Many Ways

Did you know that there are beaucoup (many) ways of saying "many" in French? In fact, French offers an abundance of terms to suit various styles, from common, conversational, colloquial to more formal and literary. In this lesson we will explore alternatives to the ubiquitous beaucoup.


But first, let's take a quick look at beaucoup (many, a lot). In Yabla videos, you will often come across the construction beaucoup de (a lot of/a great deal of). Here is one example: 


Ben, on te souhaite, ben, beaucoup de réussite

Well, we wish you, well, a great deal of success

Caption 106, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano Médaillon de Homard - Part 3

 Play Caption


As an adverb, beaucoup can also stand on its own. You are probably familiar with the polite expression merci beaucoup (thank you very much):


Ben merci beaucoup, hein. C'était un plaisir.

Well thank you very much, you know. It's been a pleasure.

Caption 108, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano Médaillon de Homard - Part 3

 Play Caption


A close cousin to beaucoup de is plein de (plenty of), which is slightly more casual. In this cheerful video, the weather forecaster wishes her viewers a Happy Halloween, which, of course, involves eating plein, plein de bonbons


Alors je vous souhaite une super fête et mangez plein, plein, plein de bonbons. Tchao-tchao.

So I wish you a great holiday and eat lots and lots and lots of candies. Ciao-ciao.

Caption 18, Alsace 20 Météo des Maquilleurs

 Play Caption


Slightly more colloquial than plein de (plenty of) is un tas de or des tas de, literally "a load of" or "heaps of." Take a look at the two examples below:


Mais on peut lui demander des tas d'autres choses

But we can request loads of other things from it

Caption 20, Il était une fois: Notre Terre 25. Technologies - Part 7

 Play Caption


Si vous êtes végétarienne, y a des tas d'autres choses

If you're vegetarian, there're heaps of other things

Caption 28, Mon Lieu Préféré Rue des Rosiers - Part 2

 Play Caption


Un tas de can also be translated as “plenty of”:


Ah, c'est bien simple. Il peut y avoir des tas de raisons

Ah, it's quite simple. There could be plenty of reasons for that

Caption 39, Il était une fois: la vie 6. Les petites plaquettes - Part 1

 Play Caption


There's also the expression pas mal de (a great deal of), which we've explored before. In the video below, the person interviewed has pas mal de problèmes de santé (quite a few health problems):


J'ai un pacemaker et pas mal de choses. 

I have a pacemaker and quite a few things. 

Caption 20, Actu Vingtième Le Repas des anciens

 Play Caption


Moving up a rung on the formality ladder, we have the idiomatic expression bien d’autres (many others), which has a more neutral tone (note that bien in this case no longer means “well," but “many”): 


...telle cette espèce de saladier que vous voyez là à l'image, et bien d'autres.

...such as this sort of salad bowl that you see here in the picture, and many others.

Caption 13, David La calebasse

 Play Caption


Similarly, énormément de (an emormous amount of) followed by a noun is used to emphasize quantity:


énormément de musique

an enormous amount of music

Caption 32, Alex Terrier Le musicien et son jazz

 Play Caption


Depending on context, it's sometimes better to translate énormément de as “(so) many” or “a great deal of”:


Donc ce sera une ligne très intéressante parce qu'il y a énormément de personnes qui vont travailler en dehors de Paris

So it will be a very interesting line because there are so many people who go to work outside of Paris

Captions 46-48, Adrien Le métro parisien

 Play Caption


Vous allez découvrir d'autres petits secrets de cette rue parce qu'il y en a énormément.

You're going to discover other little secrets of this street because there are a great deal of them.

Captions 63-64, Adrien Rue des Martyrs

 Play Caption


On a more formal register, you may come across the adjective maint, which is etymologically related to the English "many." Interestingly, maint does not need to be followed by de (of), unlike other adverbs of quantity. Maintes (the feminine plural of maint) is often combined with fois to form the expression maintes fois (many times):


Elles ont d'ailleurs été maintes fois représentées par des célèbres peintres

Incidentally, they've been depicted many times by famous painters

Caption 10, Voyage en France La Normandie: Honfleur

 Play Caption


There is also a more obscure equivalent to maint: the archaic adjective moult, dating back to the 16th century. It's no longer in use, but it might be a good word to know if you want to impress your professors with your knowledge! To quote French writer Gustave Flaubert, you could derive moult satisfaction (much satisfaction) from their reaction:


J'embrasserai ta vieille trombine avec moult satisfaction.

I will kiss your old face with much satisfaction.

Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance


While people seldom use the word moult other than for effect, young people especially might like to use a little slang and say pas des masses (not many/not much). Interestingly, the expression is always in the negative form: 


Il n’y en a pas des masses.

There are not many.


As you can see, there are beaucoup de façons (many ways) to say beaucoup, and if you wish to know even more, see this Larousse entry. You now have plenty to choose from, as there are different options for all contexts, from casual settings to more formal ones. Just be aware of the tone you wish to use. Save des tas de for friends, and moult for literary buffs. 

Wishing you beaucoup de satisfaction in your French learning, and merci beaucoup or moult remerciements (many thanks) for reading!


You May Also Like