Many people spell these two phrases wrong, or they're not sure how to spell them, or don't know the differences between them. What about you?

Which sentences are correct?
a. I had a lots of fun yesterday.
b. I had alot of fun yesterday.
c. I had a lot of fun yesterday.
d. I had lots of fun yesterday.

Watch the video below and/or read on and learn all about the pronunciation, and differences between these phrases.

 

a lot of and lots of are two very useful, common phrases.
(We never spell them a lots of, alot of x. So, in the exercise above, c. and d. are correct.

a lot of (3 separate words) and lots of, (two separate words) mean the same thing, and we use them before nouns to mean ‘a large number or amount of'.

a lot of is slightly more formal than lots of, but we don't use them in academic and business writing - see note from Oxford Dictionary below*

Remember
a lot of = three individual words 
lots of = two individual words

We never write 'alot of' or 'a lots of'.


I've got a lot of shopping.
I've got lots of shopping.
There are a lot of people.
There are lots of people.

He always eats a lot of food.
He always eats lots of food.


First, we'll look at 'a lot of'. A lot of is three individual words.

Pronunciation can confuse people with the spelling of it.

1. We have the stressed 'a lot of'
2. or unstressed "a lottuv" - the 't' joins the 'o' to make "tuv" "a lottuv"
3. or even more unstressed "a lotta"

1. We had a lot of fun.
2. We had "a lottuv" fun. (used in speaking only)
3. We had "a lotta" fun. (speaking, and used in some very informal writing)

1. It's a lot of money.
2. It's "a lottuv" money.
3. It's "a lotta" money.

Or even more unstressed in some dialects like Liverpool "a lora" money.

It doesn't matter how you pronounce it, all dialects and how we say a lot of is valid, but there's only one way to spell it - a lot of.

Let's look at lots of. It's two words "lots of" and is more informal, conversational.

The pronunciation is like "a lot of" with various unstressed forms.
1. We have the stressed "lots of"
2. Unstressed - the 's' joins the 'o' "lotsuv"
3. or even more unstressed "lotsa". The Oxford Dictionary has this very informal version on its website - "He's got lotsa money."

So remember it doesn't matter how you say it but make sure you write it as lots of

 

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Exercise 1. Which sentences are correct?

1. Lots of people loved the show.

2. There were alot of actors in the cast.

3. They took a lotta abuse from the crowd.

4. There's been a lot of rain this year.

5. There seems to be quite a lots of new shops opening.

6. Sit here - there's lots of room.

 
Exercise 2. What about these sentences?
a. There were lots of people at the party
b. There were alots of people at the party
c. There were a lots of people at the party

*A quick note about a lot of and lots of from the Oxford Dictionary: A lot of and lots of are very common in speech and writing but they still have an informal feel and are generally not considered acceptable for formal, business, academic English, where alternatives such as many or a large number, a great deal of are used instead

Thanks for reading this.

Keep passionate about your spelling and writing.

Joanne

Exercise 1. Answers.

1. Lots of people loved the show.

4. There's been a lot of rain this year.

6. Sit here - there's lots of room.

Exercise 2. Did you choose a? a. There were lots of people at the party.
2 separate words - 'lots of'