Today, I’m looking at the language we use to describe large amounts or numbers of things. Of course, words that mean ‘very large’ such as huge and massive, are often used in this way, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll focus on words and phrases which refer specifically to large amounts and numbers. It’s a very rich area of the language so the post will be in two parts.
The gardens ensure a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables.
The region is known for its huge meadows and abundant wildlife
The adjective bountiful means the same, but is rather literary in tone:
Farmers were duly rewarded this year with a bountiful harvest.
The adjective copious means ‘in very large amounts’. It is often used before a plural noun and suggests that the amount is surprisingly large:
She drinks copious quantities of black coffee throughout the day.
I noticed he took copious notes during the meeting.
Ample, meanwhile, means ‘enough, or more than enough’:
Luckily for the eagles, there’s an ample supply of rabbits and squirrels. / There’s ample parking outside the hotel.
A generous amount of something is larger than usual or larger than expected, often in a good way:
The pie came with a generous helping of vegetables.
Both companies have already laid off substantial numbers of employees.
I’m afraid we lost a considerable amount of money.
She’s won numerous awards for her work.
There have been innumerable instances of voter intimidation.
He’s a match for anyone, as he has proved on countless occasions.
In UK English, if a place is well off for a particular thing, it has a lot of that thing:
We’re fairly well off for cafes in this village.
Moving on from adjectives, a number of verbs and phrasal verbs are used to convey large amounts or numbers. For example, if a place abounds in/with things or things abound somewhere, there are a lot of them there:
The whole island abounds in wildlife.
Fish abound in the nearby river.
Similarly, to bristle with something is to have a lot of those things:
This whole city is being developed and the skyline bristles with cranes.
Somewhere that teems with animals or people has a lot of them:
At this time of the year, the meadows teem with wildlife.
I hope this post has provided you with a plentiful supply of adjectives and verbs for describing large amounts and numbers. In Part 2, I’ll look at nouns and phrases in this area.