Posted by John on .
1. How often do you read the newspaper?
2. How often do you read a newspaper?
3. How often do you read newspapers?
(What is the difference among them? Does #1 mean "How often do you read the same newspaper?")
4. That's too expensive!
5. That's too much!
(Both are the same, right? Then what is part of the speech of 'much'? Is 'much' an adjective? Does 'much' mean expensive?)
#1 means how often you read a specific newspaper.
#2 means how often do you read any newspaper.
#3 means how often do you read newspapers in general.
#4 and #5 sound the same to me.
1 - 3 mean slightly different things:
1 = "the newspaper" is most often referring to one newspaper that both the speaker and listener are familiar with.
2 = "a newspaper" means any newspaper, no matter which one.
3 = "newspapers" means about the same as #2, but in the plural.
Yes, 4 and 5 mean the same thing. In that sentence "much" is serving as an adjective in a shortened sentence; the entire expression would be, "That's too much money!"
As you can see, it can be a noun, an adverb, an adjective -- and is used in several idioms.
The use of "the" indicates a specific thing, typically the only one. The use of "a" indicates one of several options. For example, "this is the way to do it" in contrast to "this is a way to do it." In this case, this is "the" way to use these two articles.
With 4 and 5, expensive specifically refers to cost. However, the meaning of "much" is determined by the previous context. For example, if you were being portioned a dessert at a meal, you could also say, "That's too much!"
I hope this helps a little more. Thanks for asking.