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Your English: Word grammar: lot

Type: Article

Like this article by Tim Bowen? There’re lots more where that came from …

Lot usually functions as an adverb, as in ‘He seems to like her a lot’ or as a pronoun, as in ‘He didn’t eat or drink a lot, but he clearly had a good time’. The plural form can be used in the same way but is generally more informal, as in ‘She usually sings lots better than that’ or ‘There’s lots more where that came from’.

Lot can also function as noun. The principal meaning is a group or set of people or things, as in ‘This is the first time we’ve played this lot. Are they any good?’ or ‘I’ve just finished marking one lot of exam papers and now I’ve got to start on the next lot’.

The term the lot is used to refer to the whole of a number or amount that you have just mentioned, as in ‘I offered him half but he got greedy and wanted the lot’. In an auction, a lot is an item or group of items that are to be sold, as in ‘What should I bid for lot 75?’.

Someone’s lot in life is their general situation in life, especially when this is not very good for some reason, as in ‘She was never satisfied with her lot in life. She always aspired to something better’.

If you throw in your lot with someone, you decide to support or work with them, as in ‘It seems that Michael has left the Labour Party and thrown in his lot with the Liberals’.

To draw lots means to make a decision by choosing one of several pieces of paper with different names written on them, as in ‘We’re never going to reach an agreement. Why don’t we draw lots?’

In US English, a parking lot (‘car park’ in British English) is a place where many cars are able to be parked. 

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