On a Monday morning, school starts earlier than usual for me because I have the job of interviewing the new students in order to assess their level. Even though there is only a short time I can spend with each one, it is quite easy to pick up mistakes which are common to many learners of English. Here’s one I heard this morning:
“I’m learning English because next year I want to travel
A LOT OF.”
Why is that sentence incorrect? Well, A LOT OF usually requires a least one other word after it; it is important to say A LOT OF what. Therefore, the student could have said that he wants to travel to A LOT OF countries or A LOT OF places around the world.
On the other hand, A LOT doesn’t need anything else after it. This means that the student could have also said that he wants to travel A LOT. Put a full stop after A LOT.
LOTS has the same function as A LOT. Hence, the student wants to travel LOTS.
LOTS OF is the same as A LOT OF. The student wants to learn English because he wants to travel to LOTS OF different countries next year.
In the picture above? There are A LOT OF / LOTS OF strawberries, of course!